Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Prolapse occurs when an organ falls or sinks out of its normal location. The pelvic organs normally have tissue (muscle, ligaments, etc.) holding them in place. Certain factors, however, may cause those tissues to weaken, leading to prolapse of the organs.

There are several types of pelvic organ prolapse:

  • Cystocele is defined as the protrusion or prolapse of the bladder into the vagina
  • Urethrocele is the prolapse of the urethra into the vagina. These are caused by a defect in the pubocervical fascia (fibrous tissue that separates the bladder and vagina).
  • Rectocele occurs when the rectum prolapses into the vagina, caused by a defect in the fibrous tissue that separates the rectum and vagina
  • Enterocele occurs when a part of the small intestine prolapses into the vagina
  • Uterine prolapse occurs when the uterus protrudes downward into the vagina

Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse include stress incontinence (inadvertent leakage of urine with physical activity), a vaginal bulge, painful sexual intercourse, back pain, and difficult urination or bowel movements.

Robot-assisted surgery can be used to treat some types of pelvic organ prolapse. Robotic surgery allows the surgeon to make smaller incisions, and gives the surgeon greater precision and control through manipulation of the highly advanced equipment. Since smaller incisions are involved, the resulting hospital stay, pain level and scarring is dramatically lessened.

In most cases, the prolapsed organ is moved back into place and secured using connective tissue, slings, transvaginal mesh or a vaginal vault suspension. In the case of uterine prolapse, a hysterectomy may be performed on postmenopausal women or those who no longer want more children.  Laparoscopic hysterectomy  is available as an alternative to the traditional open abdominal hysterectomies.

To choose a North Shore-LIJ gynecologic surgeon or to request an appointment, visit Our Physicians or Appointment Request  

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daVinci Surgery