Half of all women will experience some type of pelvic prolapse. It's a condition in which the bladder or other organs begin slipping out of place, most often after childbirth, menopause or a hysterectomy. A lot of surgeons use a mesh-like sling to hold the pelvic organs in place but the FDA is now warning women of the risks. Nancy Naeve Brown talked to one highly specialized surgeon at Avera McKennan who has a better treatment option.
Robyn Moran from Brookings wishes she would have known the regions only fellowship-trained Urogynecologist Dr. Matthew Barker at Avera McKennan when she had her first surgery for pelvic organ prolapse in January 2000. As women age, the organs in our pelvic floor can slip out of place.
Dr. Barker says, "There a 3 things in a woman that can fall down. The uterus can come down, the rectum can fall into the vagina or the bladder can fall in the vagina. That's called pelvic organ prolapse."
Robyn's doctors in Brookings used a mesh-like material like this to keep her uterus, bladder and rectum in place. It didn't hold. Her uterus fell through the mesh sling. She ended up having a hysterectomy but the complications didn't stop. She started bleeding, having discharge, a number of infections, which resulted in dozens of visits to her local clinic.
Robyn says, "The last year and a half I've been in and out once a month. I was on creams, and pills and prescriptions and they trimmed the mesh and cauterized it and it always seemed to come back and then I said I've got to do something different. That's when I came to see Dr. Barker."
Mesh protrusions like Robyn's have become more common in patients who got synthetic slings for pelvic prolapse. Now the FDA is warning of the risks, Dr. Barker has always favored using the patient's own tissue in this type of surgery versus using synthetic material that can bunch up in the body.
Dr. Barker says, "The skin, connective tissue provides scaffolding to keep everything in place as well as the muscles. We can suture part of connective tissue we dissect off the skin to localize and bring that together to help fix her repair. It's called a native tissue repair."
Before Dr. Barker could do the reconstruction surgery, he had to go in remove as much of the mesh that had now become intertwined in her tissue.
Robyn says, "I feel 100% better. I don't have to worry about bleeding or discharge or any of that. It's been a good experience."
It comes down to talking with your surgeon about what's best for you, but make sure that surgeon is highly specialized like Dr. Barker in urinary and bowel complications so you don't have to continually fight highly personal complications down the road.
Learn More About Vaginal Mesh Prolapse Complications
Tuesday, Feb. 28, 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Avera Living Well Center at 33rd & Minnesota Ave. in Sioux Falls
To register for this FREE EDUCATIONAL EVENT, go to:
www.AveraMcKennan.org and click on the events calendar,
or call 1-877-AT-AVERA (1-877-282-8372).
Dr. Barker is the region's only Fellowship-trained Urogynecologist