What Is Robotic-Assisted Sacrocolpopexy
Urology Of Greater Atlanta
Sacrocolpopexy (sacral colpopexy) is a type of surgery that works to repair pelvic organ prolapse.
When the pelvic floor muscles weaken, the pelvic organs inside the pelvis can prolapse. In other words, they can slide out of place.
This prolapse sometimes results in a bulge in the vagina. Pelvic organ prolapse, or vaginal vault prolapse, is a condition that will most likely occur after menopause, childbirth, or a hysterectomy.
Your healthcare provider will be able to guide you through the treatment options available to you.
Sacrocolpopexy relieves prolapse symptoms, such as bulging and feeling of pressure in the pelvic area. It may also help prevent urinary incontinence that occurs during strenuous activity. The procedure will also restore sexual function.
How Is Sacrocolpopexy Performed?
During a sacrocolpopexy procedure, the surgeon will attach either a surgical mesh or the patient’s own connective tissue from the wall of the vagina to the sacrum, the bone at the base of the spine.
The surgeon may also remove the uterus at the same time. If the cervix is left in place, the mesh will be applied over the top of it as well as to the vaginal walls.
Robotic sacrocolpopexy using the da Vinci system is performed following the steps below:
- The patient receives general anesthesia to put them to sleep through the procedure.
- Four to five keyhole incisions are made on the abdomen.
- The abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide gas to create space to perform the surgery.
- A laparoscope (a thin tube with a camera) and other surgical instruments are inserted through the incisions.
- A piece of surgical mesh is attached to the front and back walls of the vagina and then to the sacrum to suspend the top of the vagina or the cervix back into its normal position.
- In many cases, the surgeon will also remove the uterus but may leave the cervix in place if it is still present. Some women also choose to have their Fallopian tubes and/or ovaries removed, depending upon age and family history.
- If there is not enough support for the bladder or rectum, the surgeon may repair these areas, usually through the vagina.
- If the patient has urinary incontinence, the surgeon may place a small piece of mesh underneath the urethra to give support when the patient coughs, laughs, or sneezes.
- At the end of the surgery, a small camera is used to examine the inside of the bladder to ensure there were no injuries during the surgery.
The surgery takes 2-3 hours to complete. When it is over, the patient will be taken to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) to wake up from anesthesia.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Sacrocolpopexy?
You may go home on the same day after having the sacrocolpopexy procedure. If not, then it may just require an overnight hospital stay.
It usually takes around 8 weeks to recover fully. During this time, you should avoid all unnecessary activities and lift nothing heavier than 10 pounds.
Some patients experience light, sometimes bloody, vaginal drainage during the first 4 weeks.
To help with recovery you could:
- Use stool softeners for the first 6 weeks
- Wash frequently, keeping the surgical area clean and free from discharge
- Use pads instead of tampons during menstruation
- Avoid sexual intercourse until the 8 weeks of recovery have been completed.
Is Sacrocolpopexy Safe?
All surgical procedures carry some risk.
During pelvic reconstructive surgery, the following may occur:
- Damage to an artery or vein, causing significant bleeding
- Perforation of the rectum or bladder
- May be unsuccessful in stopping vaginal prolapse
- Bulging in the rectum (rectocele) or bladder (cystocele)
- Pain in the hip
- Numbness in the legs
In some rare cases, part of the mesh may erode and another operation will be needed to remove the vaginal mesh.
At Urology of Greater Atlanta, our team of board-certified urologists has years of experience in performing various surgeries with minimally invasive robotic assistance.
Robotic surgery offers extensive benefits to patients, including quicker recovery, smaller incisions, less blood, less pain, and a decreased risk of infection.
If you need expert urological surgery, call the practice or schedule a consultation to find out if robotic and minimally invasive surgery is right for you.
The expert surgeons not only have experience in treating complex women’s health conditions but also men’s health issues using robotic-assisted procedures, such as robotic prostatectomies.
We have offices throughout Greater Atlanta, including Stockbridge.