“Surgery”, this word is to feel scary, especially when you already suffer pain and discomfort. According to the American Urogynecologic Society, around 3.3 million women in the US have pelvic organ collapse each year. The number of women opting for prolapse surgery is only 300,000. But if you’ve struggled enough due to the pelvic organ prolapse, surgery is what you essentially need. So before understanding the Pros and Cons of Prolapse Surgery, it’s helpful to go through what it is and how it’s beneficial for women.
Prolapse surgery is the process of repairing pelvic organ prolapse(s) which can be due to childbirth, cancer, or other medical conditions. A doctor will make a Transvaginal examination of the pelvic region and ensure enough support for the pelvic organs (i.e., Bladder, Vagina, and Rectum). The doctor may then either place vaginal support devices into the vagina to provide postural support or fix defects in the pelvic floor muscles via open surgery.
Doctors recommend that you stop smoking, drink excessive fluids before surgery, and avoid taking aspirin or blood thinners. You will be given an antibiotic to prevent infection, usually taken by mouth in pill form.
You should also not eat anything for 6 hours before the surgery with no liquids after midnight. All medications must be stopped at least 24 hours before the surgery. You will likely have a bowel prep procedure done where laxatives are used to clean your bowels.
The surgery is typically covered by insurance; it can be done quickly and easily in an outpatient setting. The recovery time is only a few weeks for most patients; there are no side effects of prolapse surgery as long as you follow the prescriptions. Some other pros of prolapse surgery are as follows.
Before the prolapse surgery, women may report feeling discomfort because of urine leakage, lower back pain, unnecessary bleeding, etc. They also report avoiding social gatherings because they are afraid to run into people who might experience odors emanating from the vaginal area. After prolapse repair surgery, many patients can resume normal activities without these distractions. This gives them their lives back, but it makes life much more comfortable for patients and those closest to them.
Many procedures that involve large incisions tend to complicate matters by exposing the surgical site to infection or potentially causing scar tissue formation within the body post-surgery. In the case of prolapse surgery, a small incision is made on the inside of the vagina, where a support device is placed to provide postural support and prevent further damage to the pelvic organs. This procedure has been performed for many years with a low complication rate, making it one of the safest procedures available today.
Though most surgeries are performed as an inpatient due to high-risk factors involved with Anesthesia, prolapse repair surgery can be done successfully as an outpatient surgery because it does not involve any cutting into major structures within the body organs. The recovery time varies depending upon how extensive your repair surgery was; however, you can typically expect to resume normal activities in about a week.
The success rate for this surgery is very high, and complications are rare. After the procedure, many patients report immediate relief from the symptoms they were experiencing before surgery, making it easy for them to adapt to their new lives post-surgery.
The only concern for women who are interested in completing this procedure is whether or not it will interfere with their sexual activities. Many pelvic region surgeries are often described as making sex less enjoyable because of scar tissue formation and pain post-surgery. Prolapse surgery, however, has very little effect on sex life since there is very little incision made to the body itself.
The cost of Prolapse Surgery may not always be covered by insurance; some women who have had children or delivered vaginally may need to wait until they've given birth before undergoing this procedure because pelvic organ prolapse often occurs after childbirth.
There are minor risks involved with any surgical procedure, even if outpatient procedures are used. Therefore, it's important that you discuss these risk factors with your doctor before entering the surgical phase of treatment. Some risks may include infection, scar tissue formation around different organs within the body, bleeding under the skin flap due to lack of blood supply also known as, Ischemia, and allergic reaction to Anesthesia.
Remember that your recovery time depends on your current health status and age. You might be placed on bed rest post-surgery for some time, depending upon the extent of your surgery. It may take about three weeks before you can resume all normal activities such as driving and working because the pelvic area must heal properly to avoid complications such as forming blood clots or leaking from where you had your incisions made.
Not all women who experience genital prolapse benefit from Prolapse surgery. Some patients may require other treatments to help control their symptoms if conservative treatment doesn't work. These may include Kegel exercises, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), bladder training techniques, biofeedback, vaginal weights/devices, and Pessaries. These options are discussed with you during your consultation appointment so that you can make a considerable decision regarding the right treatment.
So, not everyone agrees to what's penned down in the consent form, which is one of the convincing cons of prolapse surgery. The risks involved with surgery may be associated with Anesthesia which some people are allergic to, bleeding, infection, blood clots or Thrombosis, and failure of the procedure itself. This is why you'll need serious consultation from an expert healthcare provider.
You have to spend more time and money on follow-ups and routine visits. The surgery only treats the symptoms and not the actual disease itself. Therefore, you may need to take medications or perform physical therapy to help control your symptoms and prevent them from coming back in the future, which is highly possible without follow-up care.
Conclusion on the Pros and Cons of Prolapse Surgery
It is quite clear that this technique may be a great option for you. To decide whether it will work for you, speak with your doctor before and assess all the pros and cons of pelvic prolapse surgery beforehand. They must know all of your medical histories to determine what surgical procedure best suits your needs.
If the prolapse is causing you discomfort, if you have problems emptying your bladder and bowels, or if the protrusion is making it difficult to do activities that you like, consider surgery. A tissue can prolapse again after surgery. After a procedure in one region of your pelvis, a prolapse in another location might get worse.
Erosion of the mesh and scarring of the vagina, infection, pain, urinary issues, and prolapse recurrence were among the most common problems. In some situations, erosion of the mesh and vaginal scarring caused discomfort and pain, including during sexual intercourse.
When it was defined as the lack of prolapse beyond the hymen, approximately 94 percent of patients had surgical success. Subjective cure (no bulge symptoms) occurred in 92.1% of cases, while no re-treatment was necessary for 97.2%.
Patients switched from pessary to surgery at a median risk of stress urinary incontinence of 22% and recurrent prolapse of 43%. At a median risk of vaginal irritation of 32%, placement difficulties of 32% and incomplete symptom alleviation of 17%, patients changed their preference from the pessary to surgery.