Contrary to popular belief, the pelvic floor doesn’t consist just of muscle but also nerves, blood vessels, ligaments and connective tissue. If any of these structures becomes damaged, problems with support of the pelvic organs can result.
Up to nearly a third of women can be affected by a prolapse of the pelvic organs – a weakening of the tissues supporting the pelvic organs. It causes a number of symptoms, from problems during intercourse, a frequent need to pass urine, backache and recurrent urinary infections. Another issue can be stress incontinence when coughing, exercising or laughing.
The causes of a prolapse are equally varied, but two of the main ones include childbirth (responsible for around half of all prolapses) and hysterectomy. There is also some evidence that prolapses can run in families, while the menopause can also be a factor, as can constant straining resulting from chronic coughing or constipation.
While there are other solutions available, such as a vaginal pessary or support device, or oestrogens given to enhance the quality of the tissue, the most common form of treatment is to have surgery. That’s especially true when symptoms linger and are starting to affect a person’s quality of life.
Prolapse repair surgery is particularly recommended for women who have already tried prescribed pessaries, pelvic floor exercises, stopping smoking (to stop coughs) and weight loss, if that was needed.
What is a sacrohysteropexy?
Sacrohysteropexy is the name for the operation that will put your uterus back into its regular position. Only a very limited number of gynaecological surgeons will conduct this operation, and many GPs are not even aware that it is an option for treating a pelvic prolapse.
Unfortunately, in many cases, family doctors will instead put their patients forward for a hysterectomy. But, with a sacrohysteropexy, the woman keeps their uterus and so can go on to have children, or more children, if that is what they wish to do. That’s what makes a sacrohysteropexy a more agreeable form of pelvic floor repair surgery.
How it works
A keyhole surgical procedure is able to restore normality through the use of flexible mesh, which is used as a type of sling to hold the uterus in the right place permanently.
Because this is a laparascopical or keyhole procedure, no large incisions have to be made, so patients are not left with big scars on their stomach. The incisions fade over time, and are a lot less noticeable than conventional stomach scars. Instead, tiny incisions are made through which instruments can be fed, to the left of your tummy button, in the belly button and along the bikini line. The surgeon is then able to look around the pelvis via a screen.
A mesh, designed not to break down once it’s in the body, and which can stop scar tissue from forming, is inserted through the bikini line before one end is attached to the back of the cervix with minuscule needles. The other end is fixed to the tailbone with metal staples. The mesh encourages tissue growth, and doesn’t ever need to be fixed with further surgery – it can stay in place indefinitely.
As a laparoscopic procedure, sacrohysteropexy can be done very quickly under a general anaesthetic. Healing time is also very rapid for the small incisions, and what’s more, given that patients have a number of smaller cuts rather than a single big incision, pain and post-surgical discomfort are greatly reduced.
In no time at all, you will be on your feet and able to move around. No lengthy hospital stays are needed. One night away from home is usually all you will need to make a full recovery.