Advances in surgical techniques for reconstructing pelvic organ prolapse (POP) have given new hope to women while restoring their quality of life. Up to 50% of women will develop POP in their lifetimes. Thirty years ago, pelvic reconstructive surgery required a long period of recuperation yet only corrected the problem half of the time. Surgeons had to resort to attaching poor-quality tissue to poor-quality tissue. Not surprisingly only 10 to 20% of women with POP seek medical attention.
Fortunately, urological procedures have evolved dramatically since the mid-1970s. Now minimally invasive techniques have reduced recovery times, decreased pain and scarring, and have better success rates. Our AUNC providers have actively participated in this evolution during his quarter-century of medical practice, and their many happy patients attest to the benefits of these advanced techniques. Surgical techniques have improved because medical advances have resulted in a better understanding of the pelvic anatomy and because new biocompatible graft materials can reproducibly restore normal pelvic support.
As women age, gravity and the loss of collagen that supports tissue can cause sagging internally as well as externally. Pregnancy and childbirth can exacerbate this process. Women who smoke experience problems because frequent coughing puts additional strain on the pelvic organs. The growing problem with obesity in this country affects approximately one-third of the population with another two thirds carrying extra weight. The additional pounds on the pelvic structure also cause problems and make tissue sag.
Urinary incontinence or the discomfort of pelvic prolapse often restricts activities and can cause constipation, sexual dysfunction, and depression in patients. The goal of pelvic reconstructive surgery is to relieve symptoms, restore normal vaginal anatomy and organ function, and correct or prevent bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction. Our AUNC practitioners enjoy this part of their urology practice because they can see immediate improvement in their patients. It gives their female patients a new lease on life, so they have lots of ‘happy campers.’”