What is a sacrocolpopexy procedure?
Sacrocolpopexy is a procedure to surgically correct pelvic organ prolapse where a mesh holds the organ in the correct position inside the body. Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition caused by weakening of the support system in the pelvic floor. It is similar to a hernia in men.
Organs of the pelvis (the area between the hip bones) include
The organs are held in place by a group of muscles and other support tissues. When the support system becomes stretched, weak or torn, it leads to slippage of the pelvic organs from their normal place (prolapse).
The different types of prolapse include
- Uterine prolapse: The uterus and cervix slips down past the vaginal opening.
- Vaginal vault prolapse: The top part of the vagina (vaginal vault) slips down the vaginal canal.
- Cystocele: The urinary bladder bulges into the vagina.
- Rectocele: The rectum bulges into the vagina.
- Enterocele: The small intestine bulges against the vaginal wall.
The most common cause of pelvic organ prolapse includes
- Vaginal birth that increases the risk of vaginal prolapse
- Hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus)
- Vigorous physical activity
- Lifting heavy objects
- Conditions related to increased abdominal pressure such as obesity, frequent straining while defecating or chronic cough
- Genetic factors that lead to a weaker pelvic support system
How is sacrocolpopexy performed?
The physician performs sacrocolpopexy laparoscopically. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia so that the patient remains asleep throughout the procedure. Next, the physician makes four to five incisions on the abdomen. The physicians fill the abdomen with carbon dioxide gas to create space for the surgery. With the help of a laparoscope and other instruments, the physician performs the surgery. The physician attaches a surgical mesh to the front and back wall of the vagina to suspend the cervix back into its position. Most of the time, the physician prefers to remove the uterus but may leave the cervix. If the bladder or rectum does not seem to be in place, the physician may repair these areas. The physician may place a small piece of mesh underneath the urethra to give support to patients with urinary incontinence, especially when they cough, laugh or sneeze. The camera attached to the laparoscope helps the physician to examine the inside of the uterus to look out for injuries during the surgery.
Sacrocolpopexy takes about two to three hours to complete.
What happens after a sacrocolpopexy surgery?
You will be sent to the recovery room for monitoring. While in the hospital, you will
- Take medications for pain and nausea.
- Get a shot of blood thinners.
- Walk as much as possible to speed up recovery.
- Wear compression stockings on your legs to prevent the formation of blood clots.
- Be checked for bladder emptying.
- Take Miralax for softening the stools.
Sacrocolpopexy isn’t devoid of any risks. Hence, you must be aware of its risks, which include
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