Vaginal Prolapse

Vaginal prolapse, or vaginal vault prolapse, occurs when the uppermost part of the vagina falls or sags down into the vaginal canal. When the top of the vagina drops in this manner, it not only causes the vagina to lose its shape, but it also may weaken and collapse the vaginal walls. It is possible to have part of the vagina prolapse, or protrude, from the vagina's opening. Vaginal prolapse is similar to and can happen in conjunction with uterine prolapse (or pelvic organ prolapse). This occurs when the vaginal tissues, muscles, and ligaments surrounding the uterus weaken and collapse, causing the uterus to protrude into the vagina. Both uterine and vaginal prolapse also can accompany other related prolapse conditions, including small bowel prolapse (enterocele), uretha prolapse (urethrocele), prolapse of the bladder (cystocele), and rectal prolapse (rectocele).

These types of conditions are common. Nearly 40 percent of women will experience some form of pelvic organ prolapse, including vaginal prolapse. Prolapse most often occurs in women beyond the age of 40 and in relation to or following childbirth, menopause, or a hysterectomy. In approximately 10 percent of women, vaginal prolapse occurs following a hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus. Surgery may be required to repair a vaginal prolapse.

Why UAB

UAB Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery provides the highest level of evidence-based care for the full spectrum of women’s pelvic floor disorders. We stand apart from other programs because our board-certified or board-eligible physicians offer the full range of treatment options for women with urinary and bowel incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and other pelvic floor conditions. We feature minimally invasive surgical treatments for urinary and bowel incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, and we collaborate with colleagues in providing nonsurgical options for pelvic floor conditions.

Our urogynecologic and pelvic reconstructive surgeons and physicians are recognized nationally and internationally, including service as president of the prestigious Society of Gynecologic Surgeons, a select member group of more than 250 physicians involved in teaching and practicing advanced gynecologic surgery. In addition, our leadership has been appointed to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Urologic and Genitourinary Physiology and Pathology Study Section at the NIH Center for Scientific Review.

Urogynecology is all that we do, so you can depend on us to deliver individualized care in a sensitive fashion that fulfills your specialized needs.

 

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Vaginal Repair Procedure

A vaginal repair procedure involves the repair of the walls of the vagina to prevent prolapse (protruding out of the vagina). The procedure may be called an anterior repair when fixing a cystocele, which occurs when the supportive tissue between the bladder and vaginal wall weakens and stretches, allowing the bladder to bulge. It may be called a posterior repair when repairing a rectocele, which occurs when the thin wall of fibrous tissue (fascia) that separates the rectum from the vagina weakens, allowing the vaginal wall to bulge. A rectocele typically, though not always, causes the front wall of the rectum to bulge into the vagina.

During the procedure, an incision is made in the vagina at the site of the defect. No abdominal incisions are required. Either spinal or general anesthesia typically is used. Operative times vary greatly depending on the findings at the time of surgery, although the procedure typically averages 45-60 minutes. Your surgeon will proceed with safety as his/her first priority. Most patients will need to remain in the hospital for 1-2 days following the procedure.


CLINICAL TRIALS

UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for vaginal prolapse. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

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