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New Procedure To Correct Pelvic Prolapse Has Faster Recovery, Shorter Hospital Stay

Maybe you've been too embarrassed to talk about it with your doctor, but if childbirth left you with a very unpleasant rearrangement of your pelvic organs, you need to know help is possible. Urogynecologists Robert Harris, MD, and Steven Speights, MD, at Southeast Urogynecology at Women's Specialty Center in Jackson, Miss. are two of only a select few physicians in the entire southeast performing minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery at Baptist to correct extensive pelvic organ prolapse commonly called "dropped vagina." It is a condition in which one or more of the organs in the pelvic cavity, such as the uterus, vagina, bladder and/or rectum, has fallen below its normal position in the pelvis.

Jackson, MS (PRWEB) April 1, 2009 -- Urogynecologists Robert Harris, MD, and Steven Speights, MD, at Southeast Urogynecology at Women's Specialty Center in Jackson, Miss. are two of only a select few physicians in the entire southeast performing minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery to correct extensive pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse, commonly called "dropped vagina", is a condition in which one or more of the organs in the pelvic cavity, such as the uterus, vagina, bladder and/or rectum, has fallen below its normal position in the pelvis.

This surgery, known as laparoscopic sacral colpopexy, is performed at Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, Miss. The minimally invasive procedure requires only four small abdominal incisions, as opposed to making a large incision to open the abdomen. Physicians expand the abdomen by gently pumping gas into the abdominal cavity to improve the visual field. Then, using a device with a small camera attached on the end, a laparoscope, they use small instruments to lift the vagina back up to its natural position by attaching synthetic mesh from the top of the vagina to the ligament overlying the tailbone. The mesh provides the vagina with the right amount of support to keep it in the correct position and is the most sturdy and reliable repair for vaginal prolapse. The surgery usually takes about an hour to complete.

"By using a laparoscope to suspend the vagina or the cervix to the strong tissues found deep in the pelvis, we avoid the large incision and extended recovery time the traditional surgery requires," said Dr. Speights. "We have never kept anybody in the hospital for more than one night, and the patient is back to normal activity in about a week."

Drs. Harris and Speights specialize in the care of women with pelvic support and bladder problems, including urinary incontinence. They have been performing minimally invasive surgery for almost 15 years and have performed over 1000 sacral colpopexies, almost all of which have been via the laparoscopic approach for the past 2 years.

Dr. Harris added, "Vaginal prolapse is a common condition many women do not talk about. Women may be embarrassed to discuss their symptoms with their physicians, and there is a lack of general education. Symptoms of bladder, bowel or sexual dysfunction are frequently present. All these symptoms can have a significant impact on a woman's quality of life, which deserves attention and effective treatment."

Pelvic organ prolapse is caused when pelvic muscles are weakened or stretched, sometimes during vaginal childbirth, especially from a difficult labor or delivery, multiple vaginal deliveries and/or large babies. The risk increases nearly 20 percent with each additional vaginal delivery up to five births. Being overweight, having a chronic cough, loss of muscle tone with aging, or having a hysterectomy or other abdominal surgery may also cause these muscles to be weakened. Heredity may play a role in determining who is predisposed toward pelvic organ prolapse. Statistics suggest it occurs more often in women of Northern European and Hispanic descent than in women of African or Asian descent.

In the Women's Health Initiative study involving more then 27,000 women, 40 % aged 50 to 79 years were found to have some form of pelvic organ prolapse. The symptoms include pelvic heaviness, a bulge or protrusion coming down from the vagina, and a dragging sensation in the vagina.

"The right treatment will depend on the type and degree of prolapse. For those needing surgery, performing this laparoscopically has the advantages of faster post operative recovery, shorter hospital stay and improved quality of life for the patient."

For more information, contact the Baptist Heath Line at 601-948-6262 or 1-800-948-6262. To view a video of the surgery visit the Baptist Medical News Network.

About the Southeast Urogynecology at Women's Specialty Center
Dr. Robert Harris and Dr. Steven Speights are board-certified and are the only specialists in Mississippi who are fellowship-trained in Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic and Vaginal Surgery. Southeast Urogynecology was founded in 1999 and these doctors, as leaders in the field and with more than 20 years combined experience, offer state-of-the art diagnostics and the most advanced treatment options available. This includes performing thousands of complex bladder tests and vaginal reconstruction procedures each year. They also know surgery isn't always the best choice for treatment. For this reason, they partner with Innovative Pelvic Health to provide a complete non-surgical bladder, bowel, and pelvic muscle rehabilitation directed by nurse practitioners. Jackie Williams and Mickie Autry, both certified nurse practitioners, have more than 25 years of combined experience in treating women with these problems. They are recognized regionally and nationally as leaders in women's health and have special training and expertise in the treatment of bladder and bowel incontinence, overactive bladder, pelvic muscle wasting, bladder pain and Interstitial Cystitis.

About Baptist Medical Center
Baptist Health Systems is the parent company of Baptist Medical Center, The Mississippi Hospital for Restorative Care and a number of related healthcare services and programs. For a century, Baptist Medical Center has served Mississippi and the surrounding states as a Christian-based, non-profit comprehensive medical Center. From its beginnings in 1908, Baptist has grown to include a medical center providing comprehensive services for people in every stage of life. The 500+ members of Baptist's medical staff represent more than 85 medical specialties. In 2002, Baptist opened a Cancer Center, and in 2009, the Cardiovascular Center and Baptist for Women facilities opened.

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