da Vinci Sacrocolpopexy

The Condition:

120,000+ cases of uterine and vaginal vault prolapse are surgically treated each year in the U.S. Prolapse (or falling) of any pelvic floor organ (vagina, uterus, bladder or rectum) occurs when the connective tissues or muscles within the body cavity are weak and unable to hold the pelvis in its natural orientation.

The weakening of connective tissues accelerates with age, after child birth, with weight gain and strenuous physical labor. Women experiencing pelvic organ prolapse typically have problems with urinary incontinence, vaginal ulceration, sexual dysfunction and/or having a bowel movement.

I was very frightened last summer when I found I could not walk or sit without experiencing pelvic pain.  I spent two days just laying in bed or on the couch hoping the pain would go away. Some of my symptoms included pelvic heaviness, slow urination, feeling my uterus bulging outside the vagina or alongside the vagina.  After realizing that this pelvic pain was not going to repair itself by resting on the couch I decided I take action.  I searched the internet for a gynecologist experienced with robotic surgery. I liked what I found on Dr. Shashoua's website.  So, I sent an email.  I was very surprised when Dr. Shashoua called me soon after my email was sent.  He explained to me that I had pelvic organ prolapse and offered to have his staff call me to set up an appointment.  I needed Dr. Shashoua's encouragement to help me move forward.

Dr. Shashoua diagnosis included a computerized picture to help me understand what was happening in my pelvic.  The picture showed a vaginal vault prolapse, a bladder prolapse and a kink in my uretha.  Four weeks after my initial appointment I was scheduled for surgery at St. Joseph's hospital.

The surgery included the removal of the uterus and tubes.  I kept my ovaries since there isn't any history of uterine cancer in my family.  A sling was made of mesh to support the bladder.  The uretha was reinforced to prevent incontinence.  A mesh was used to hold the cervix in the correct position.  Besides these repairs Dr. Shashoua removed bad adhesions that developed around my bowels caused by a 40 year old appendectomy.

All of this was done robotically.  Four small incisions in the abdomen plus the belly button were used to hold the tools and cameras.  The procedure is called da Vinci Sacrocolpopexy and Dr. Shashoua is well known in state and out of state for his skill.  During my six weeks of recovery I felt well enough to make two six hour car trips.  Three weeks after surgery I was in a plane flying to Honolulu!  I did check with Dr. Shashoua before each trip to make sure I wasn't undoing all of his careful work.  Read more patient stories here.

The Treatment:

Sacrocolpopexy is a procedure to surgically correct vaginal vault prolapse where mesh is used to hold the vagina in the correct anatomical position. This procedure can also be performed following a hysterectomy to treat uterine prolapse to provide long-term support of the vagina.sacrocolpopexy

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Sacrocolpopexy has traditionally been performed as an open surgery. A 15-30 cm horizontal incision is made in the lower abdomen in order to manually access the inter-abdominal organs, including the uterus.

If your doctor recommends sacrocolpopexy, you may be a candidate for a new surgical procedure called da Vinci Sacrocolpopexy. This procedure uses a state-of-the-art surgical system designed to help your surgeon perform a minimally invasive surgery through small incisions.

For most women, da Vinci Sacrocolpopexy offers numerous potential benefits over a traditional open approach:

da Vinci Sacrocolpopexy

  • Significantly less pain
  • Less blood loss and need for transfusions
  • Less risk of infection
  • Less scarring
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Quicker return to normal activities

As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed, as surgery is patient- and procedure- specific.

For more information, follow the links below: