Each year, American doctors surgically treat more than 140,000 cases of uterine and vaginal prolapse. This surgery corrects prolapse by implanting a special synthetic mesh that holds the fallen organ in its correct position.
Women have three approaches to surgical prolapse correction, also known as sacrocolpopexy – traditional open surgery, laparoscopic surgery, and the innovative da Vinci Surgical System.
The benefits of da Vinci’s minimally invasive approach include:
- Significantly less pain
- Less blood loss
- Fewer complications - including reduced risk of infection
- Less scarring – 1-2 cm incisions versus 6-10 inches with open surgery
- Shorter hospital stay - one day versus an average of three days
- Quicker recovery from surgery and return to normal routine
The state-of-the-art da Vinci robot enables some complex pelvic prolapse surgeries to be performed as minimally invasive procedures. Through tiny 1-2 cm incisions, a surgeon using the da Vinci system can operate with precision and control while minimizing the pain that often accompanies the large incisions associated with open surgery. The surgeon uses special hand controls to guide the robotic arms which hold specially designed surgical instruments. The latest computer technology converts the surgeon’s large hand movements into precise small movements, resulting in tremendous dexterity. The robotic “wrists” can rotate a full 360 degrees. This wide range of motion enables a surgeon to anchor the mesh precisely, so the pelvic organ is securely held in place. The da Vinci System requires that every surgical maneuver be performed with direct input from a surgeon – the machine cannot move on its own.
The three-dimensional, high definition da Vinci camera supplies a surgeon with a magnified view of the internal organs that’s better than normal vision. The enhanced visualization and greater degree of movement offered by the da Vinci System provides a minimally invasive alternative that can be used for many complex prolapse surgeries.
For more information on the da Vinci System’s leading-edge robotic technology, click here.
Contact a urologist to find out if da Vinci assisted surgery may be your best treatment option.
Questions and Answers
What is pelvic prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when connective tissues or muscles within the abdomen weaken and can no longer hold the vagina, uterus, bladder or rectum in its proper position. Weakening can accelerate due to age, child birth, weight gain or strenuous physical labor. Women who experience pelvic organ prolapse typically have problems with urinary incontinence, vaginal ulcers, sexual dysfunction or bowel movements.
What is traditional "open" sacrocolpopexy surgery?
Traditional open surgery, using a large (6-10”) incision on the belly, has been the standard approach for many years. The large incision creates space for the surgeon’s hands to have full freedom of movement. However, with open surgery, patients often experience significant pain, a 2-3 day hospital stay and up to six weeks for post-surgery recovery.
What is laparoscopic sacrocolpopexy surgery?
Laparoscopy, a relatively recent approach to sacrocolpopexy, gives patients the benefits associated with a smaller incision, including shorter recovery time, less scarring and reduced pain. Special surgical instruments and a video camera are inserted into a patient’s body through 2-3 small incisions. The camera transmits a two-dimensional image of the internal organs onto a television monitor that a surgeon views while implanting the mesh. The rigidity of the laparoscopic instruments poses some limitations, but this approach is a safe and effective option for routine, less complex pelvic prolapse surgeries.
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