Surgical repair of vaginal prolapse: A gynaecological hernia

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Surgical repair of vaginal prolapse: A gynaecological hernia

Charlotte Chaliha and Vik Khullara

St Mary's Hospital, London, UK

Available online 22 December 2005.

Abstract

Female pelvic organ prolapse refers to the descent of the pelvic organs towards or through the vagina. The similarities between vaginal prolapse and herniae in their aetiology and treatment make this an interesting area for all those operating in the pelvis.

It is a common condition with prevalence estimates varying from 2% for symptomatic prolapse to 50% for asymptomatic prolapse [Samuelsson EC, Arne Victor FT, Tibblin G, Svardsudd KF. Signs of genital prolapse in a Swedish population 20 to 59 years of age and possible related factors. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1999;180:299–305]. Approximately 50% of parous women will have some degree and only 10–20% of these seek medical help [Beck RP. Pelvic relaxation prolapse. In: Kase NG, Weingold AB, editors. Principles and practice of clinical gynecology. New York: John Wiley; 1983. p. 677–85]. The lifetime risk for surgery for prolapse has been estimated to be around 11.1%, and 30% will undergo re-operation for recurrent prolapse [Olsen AL, Smith VJ, Bergstrom JO, Colling JC, Clark AL. Epidemiology of surgically managed pelvic organ prolapsed and urinary incontinence. Obstet Gynecol 1997;89:501–6].

The aetiology of prolapse is multifactorial. Advancing age, parity and collagen weakness are all quoted as significant predisposing factors [Olsen AL, Smith VJ, Bergstrom JO, Colling JC, Clark AL. Epidemiology of surgically managed pelvic organ prolapsed and urinary incontinence. Obstet Gynecol 1997;89:501–6; Maclennan AH, Taylor AW, Wilson, Wilson D. The prevalence of pelvic floor disorders and their relationship to gender, age, parity and mode of delivery. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 2000;107:1460–70]. Pathophysiological mechanisms that have been proposed include pelvic floor denervation, direct trauma to the pelvic floor musculature, abnormal synthesis and degradation of collagen and defects in endopelvic fascia [Al-Rawi ZS, Al-Rawi ZT. Joint hypermobility in women with genital prolapse. Lancet 1982;I:439–41; Gilpin SA, Gosling JA. Smith ARB, Warrell DW. The pathogenesis of genitourinary prolapse and stress incontinence in women. A histological and histochemical study. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1989;96:15–23; Smith ARB, Hosker GL, Warrell DW. The role of partial denervation of the pelvic floor in the aetiology of genitourinary prolapse and stress incontinence of urine. A neurophysiological study. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1989;96:24–8; Allen RE, Hosker GL, Smith ARB, Warrell DW. Pelvic floor damage and childbirth: a neurophysiological study. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1990;97:770–9].

The procedure of choice for reconstructive surgery to the vagina should be tailored to the individual patient and be of low morbidity and mortality, but at the same time with long-term durability.

Keywords: Vaginal prolapse; Vault prolapse; Surgical repair; Sacrocolpopexy; Sacrospinous fixation

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Kate Ross 04:39, 26 September 2008 (EDT)