North Ottawa Community Health System (NOCHS) recently established a new, destination service to address an escalating condition in aging women often referred to as, “a silent epidemic,” – or pelvic prolapse. We are dedicated to improving women’s lives through health care and education about this condition.
Who is at Risk of Developing This Condition?
Pelvic prolapse occurs more often in women who have had multiple children, large babies or who engage in strenuous physical labor. But it’s not just happening to older women. It’s happening earlier in life – as women choose to have babies well into their 40s and babies, in general, are getting bigger, resulting in more stress to the body during delivery. Statistics show that one in every three women or between 30 and 40 percent of all women, nationally will experience some form of pelvic prolapse usually following menopause, childbirth or a hysterectomy.
Breaking the Silence
For a condition we almost never hear about, pelvic prolapse is shockingly common. Women in advanced stages of prolapsed experience dramatic diminished quality of life and often suffer in silence. Embarrassment keeps them from talking with one another and even their doctors. If left untreated it leads to more serious complications. Worse, if women disengage from their doctors, skip annual exams and generally ignore gynecological health because of this, things like uterine or cervical cancer could go undetected. How do we begin to address this issue? Start the conversation. We need to make it ‘okay’ to talk about.
Click here to view/read about how patients talk about their experience with pelvic prolapsed in their own words.
The Gold Standard Treatment
There are a number of treatment options available for women experiencing pelvic prolapsed. Which treatment is right for you depends on the severity of your symptoms, medical history and a number of other factors, so talk to your doctor.
For women in advanced stages of prolapse, surgery is often the best option. A highly specialized procedure, called sacrocolpoplexy, where the prolapsed organ is repositioned and the surrounding organs are precisely, yet delicately strengthened at the same time, is fast-becoming the gold standard for correction. This approach can be performed robotically by highly skilled and experienced surgeons. This approach, done robotically, is available at The Pelvic Prolapse Correction Center of Michigan.
About the da Vinci® Surgical System
Key features of the da Vinci surgical system include:
• 3D stereo viewer designed to provide surgeons with an immersive experience – magnifying images in brilliant color and with natural depth of field
• It operates through a few, small incisions through which the robotic arms (controlled by the surgeon at the master console) maneuver instruments and an endoscopic camera
• It has a fail-safe design the incorporates multiple, redundant safety features that minimize the risk for human error when compared with traditional approaches
• It is a significant improvement over conventional laparoscopy where the instruments cannot bend or rotate and, the surgeon must view 2D images off to the side, away from the instrumentation
Key benefits of da Vinci robotic surgery for patients include:
• Less pain
• Less blood loss
• Fewer complications
• Shorter hospital stay
• Less risk of infection
• Fast recovery
Other physicians who are part of North Ottawa Women’s Health (a service of NOCHS continuum of care), including Tabatha Barber, DO is trained and certified on the system and is performing other gynecologic surgeries, such as hysterectomies.