Pelvic surgery is a broad term that refers to surgical procedures performed in the pelvic area, the majority of which are gynecologic operations. Although any operation on the pelvic floor, pelvic bones or pelvic organs may be classified as pelvic surgery, pelvic surgery in this article will be used to refer to urogynecologic procedures performed for female pelvic floor disorders. These disorders include pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence.
Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition wherein a pelvic organ, such as the uterus, bladder or the rectum, falls from its normal location. On the other hand, urinary incontinence is the inability to hold in one’s urine, resulting in involuntary urination. Both conditions occur due to the weakness of the pelvic muscles, usually attributed to stretching during childbirth. It can also be associated with gynecologic surgery, such as a hysterectomy.
Who Should Undergo the Procedure
Patients with pelvic floor disorders present with various symptoms while mild cases of pelvic organ prolapse may remain asymptomatic. In more severe forms, the pelvic organs can be visualized protruding through the genital area. Patients with pelvic organ prolapse typically experience discomfort or pain in the pelvic area, usually described as a feeling of fullness in the vagina. The discomfort may improve when the patient is lying down. Spotting and pain during coitus can also occur. Urinary incontinence may be experienced as a separate condition, or may be an associated symptom of pelvic organ prolapse. There are several kinds of urinary incontinence, such as stress incontinence, urge incontinence and overflow incontinence. Of these kinds, stress incontinence is the type that can benefit with pelvic surgery. With stress incontinence, sneezing, coughing, lifting weights or similar activities can result in involuntary leakage of urine. Incontinence can lead to urinary tract infections, or irritation and inflammation of the skin on the genital area.