Numerous women worldwide have experienced Pelvic organ prolapse (POP). This widespread affliction denotes the descent of the pelvic organs- including the bladder, urethra, uterus, rectum, or small intestine- from their original position and protruding into the vagina. The most common form of POP is anterior vaginal wall prolapse, also known as a cystocele, where the bladder droops into the vaginal canal, causing various symptoms and discomfort. In response, surgical intervention known as anterior vaginal repair is necessary for women experiencing this condition- a procedure that can significantly improve quality of life.
Read on to learn about anterior vaginal repair, this surgical procedure’s benefits, its possible risks, and post-operative care.
What is Anterior Vaginal Repair?
Anterior vaginal repair, also known as colporrhaphy or anterior colporrhaphy, is a surgical procedure that aims to correct the prolapse of the anterior (front) vaginal wall. The process achieves this correction by strengthening the connective tissue and muscles of the vaginal wall to better support the bladder and other pelvic organs.
Physicians perform this surgery under general, regional, or local anaesthesia, usually through the vaginal opening. This approach is minimally invasive, lowering the risk of complications and promoting faster recovery.
The surgical process entails the surgeon making an incision on the anterior vaginal wall before isolating the prolapsed tissue. Next, they pull up the tissue before securing it with sutures, after which they may remove any excess tissue. The surgeon may use a synthetic or biological mesh to reinforce the vaginal support structures if necessary. Finally, the vaginal incision is closed using dissolvable sutures.
Benefits of Anterior Vaginal Repair
- Alleviates symptoms
Anterior vaginal repair primarily alleviates prolapse symptoms. These include:
- Urinary incontinence,
- Feelings of pelvic heaviness or fullness,
- Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
- Tendency to leak urine when lifting objects, sneezing or coughing
- Visible prolapse at the vaginal opening.
- Restores anatomical position
By lifting and securing the prolapsed tissue, the surgery aims to restore the normal anatomical position of the bladder and other pelvic organs.
- Improves pelvic floor function
Patients often experience improved ability to control bladder and bowel movements following anterior vaginal repair as the surgery strengthens the pelvic floor muscles.
- Enhances confidence and quality of life
When the anterior vaginal repair reduces or eliminates the prolapse symptoms, your self-assurance will find new highs, and you will get a boost in your quality of life. In fact, numerous women rave about an enhanced feeling of contentment and comfort in social situations. They can also often engage in activities they previously avoided due to the discomfort caused by prolapse.
Risks and Potential Complications
As with any surgical intervention, anterior vaginal repair has some risks and potential complications. The most common hazards include:
- Damage to surrounding structures such as the bladder or urethra.
It is also possible that the surgery may not completely alleviate the symptoms. You may experience a prolapse recurrence, rendering further treatment necessary. Additionally, in some cases, you may experience new symptoms (such as urinary urgency or painful intercourse) following the surgery.
Post-Operative Care and Recovery
Recovering from anterior vaginal repair typically takes around four to six weeks. Follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions closely and attend follow-up appointments to monitor your progress for a smooth recovery.
In summary, anterior vaginal repair is a beneficial surgical intervention that addresses pelvic organ prolapse, particularly anterior vaginal wall prolapse. This procedure can significantly relieve symptoms, improving your confidence and quality of life. You can consult your doctor to address any questions, concerns or clarifications you require before consenting to this procedure.