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What is uterine prolapse surgery?

Uterine Prolapse Surgery

Uterine prolapse surgery includes various procedures to repair a prolapsed uterus that has slipped out of place. This condition results from damage to or weakening of muscles, ligaments and tissues that hold a woman’s uterus in place. Uterine prolapse is more common in women who have had children. It can cause protrusion of the uterus into the vagina, pain, urinary incontinence, and other problems. 

Uterine prolapse surgery is a major surgery with serious risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having uterine prolapse surgery. 

Types of uterine prolapse surgery

The types of uterine prolapse surgery include:

  • Ligament suspension lifts the uterus using a mesh material or stitches to attach the uterus or vaginal vault (upper part of the vagina) to a strong ligament in the pelvis to support them. This is called a sacrospinous ligament suspension or uterosacral ligament suspension. Sometimes your surgeon lifts the uterus by attaching it to a muscle. This is called an ileococcygeus suspension.
  • Uterine suspension lifts the uterus using a mesh material to attach the uterus to the pelvis. This is called a sacral colpohysteropexy. Another version of the surgery shortens stretched-out ligaments that support the uterus. 

Other procedures that may be performed 

Uterine prolapse often goes hand-in-hand with prolapse of other pelvic organs, such as the bladder or rectum. Your doctor may perform other procedures in addition to uterine prolapse surgery to treat these conditions. 

Procedures can include:

  • Colporrhaphy lifts a prolapsed bladder (cystocele) or rectum (rectocele) by repairing the weakened wall between the vagina and the bladder or rectum. The surgery is performed through the vagina.
  • Hysterectomy helps treat a prolapsed uterus by removing it. 
  • Vaginal vault suspension lifts the upper part of the vagina (vaginal vault) by stitching it to strong ligaments toward the back of pelvis. Another version lifts the vaginal vault by attaching it to a mesh device, which is attached to the pelvis. This is called a sacrocolpopexy. Vaginal vault suspension can help treat a uterus, bladder, or small bowel that has slipped out of place due to a weakness in the vaginal wall.
Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Nov 28, 2012

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Medical References

Abdominal Sacrocolpopexy or Sacrohysteropexy. Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh, NHS foundation Trust. http://www.wwl.nhs.uk/Library/All_New_PI_Docs/Audio_Leaflets/Gynaecology/Abdominal_Sacrocolpopexy/FT2_Abdominal_Sacrocolpopexy.pdf. Accessed October 31, 2012.
Considering Surgery for Vaginal or Uterine Prolapse? UCLA Health System. http://obgyn.ucla.edu/workfiles/da_Vinci_Robot/Uterine_Prolapse.pdf. Accessed October 31, 2012.
International Center for Laparoscopic Urogynecology. http://www.miklosandmoore.com/lap_proc5.php. Accessed October 31, 2012.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse. Women’s Surgery Center. http://www.gyndr.com/genital_prolapse_surgery.php. Accessed October 31, 2012.
Sacrospinous Fixation/Ileococcygeus Suspension. International Urogynecological Association. http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.iuga.org/resource/resmgr/brochures/eng_sacrospinousfix.pdf. Accessed October 31, 2012.
Sacrocolpopexy. International Urogynecological Association. http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.iuga.org/resource/resmgr/brochures/eng_sacrocolpopexy.pdf. Accessed October 31, 2012.
Transvaginal Mesh Risks, Warnings and Problems. Drugwatch. http://www.drugwatch.com/transvaginal-mesh/. Accessed October 31, 2012.
Uterine & Vaginal Prolapse & Treatment. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. http://www.med.unc.edu/cares/gynecologic-surgery/prolapse-treatment. Accessed October 31, 2012.
Uterine Suspension. South Coast Urogynecology. http://urogyn.org/avs_uterine_suspension.html. Accessed October 31, 2012.

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