A weakening of the pelvic floor muscles and tissues that support the pelvic
region causes pelvic floor disorders. The pelvis has a “hammock”
or “sling” of muscles, located in the lower abdomen, that
stretch across your pelvic floor. For both men and women, the pelvic floor
supports the bladder, bowel, rectum and urethra and maintains urinary
and fecal continence. In women, these are the muscles that support the
uterus and play an important role in vaginal childbirth. Over time they
may become stretched or weakened.
Women with pelvic organ prolapse typically have problems with urinary incontinence,
vaginal ulceration, sexual dysfunction and/or having bowel movements.
Symptoms of a pelvic floor disorder can be minor to major, depending on
the position of the organs, and may include a feeling of pressure in the
vagina, pain in the abdomen or during sex. Urinary troubles are also common
such as urge or stress incontinence and/or a feeling of not being able
to completely empty the bladder. In addition, prolapse can contribute
to bowel problems including constipation, incomplete emptying or fecal
For those with severe prolapse, the uterus, bladder or rectum may descend
or bulge into the vagina, sometimes to where they can actually be seen
protruding from the vaginal opening.
When the muscles or ligaments support the pelvic organs break or weaken,
the condition is called pelvic organ prolapse, which can also result from
pelvic injury associated with the abdominal pressure of coughing, heavy
lifting, constipation, pelvic surgery, neurological injury, obesity, menopause
and hormonal deprivation or medications. Anatomical abnormalities are
another cause for women experiencing these same functional symptoms.
Sacrocolpopexy is a surgical procedure that can be used to correct vaginal
prolapse. During the procedure, a piece of mesh is attached to the top
of the vagina and the other end is attached to the sacral promontory that
is located at the back of the pelvic floor and lower part of the spine.
Surgeons use specially designed instruments to lift the prolapsed organs
back to their correct anatomical position and attach them with permanent sutures.
By using the daVinci Robot, surgeons are able to perform the procedure
through several small incisions instead of a large single incision. That
can result in:
- Shorter hospital stays
- Less pain
- Less blood loss and less need for transfusions
- Less scarring