Pelvic Floor Repair and Urethral Slings: Minimally Invasive Options for Pelvic Support
Pelvic floor disorders like prolapse and urinary incontinence can greatly impact women’s quality of life.
These conditions might result from childbirth, aging, and other factors that weaken the pelvic floor muscles and connective tissues. When conservative treatments fail to provide relief, minimally invasive surgical procedures, such as pelvic floor repair and urethral slings, may be options to consider.
At AllSafe Medical Group, our experienced and compassionate team of surgeons rely on advanced techniques that provide the benefits of less pain, smaller scars, and faster recovery compared to open surgery.
Pelvic Floor Repair Surgery: Regaining Support with Minimal Incisions
Pelvic organ prolapse involves the descent of pelvic organs due to weakness or tears in the vaginal walls and supporting connective tissue. There are several types of prolapse:
- Cystocele—Bladder prolapse into the front vaginal wall
- Rectocele—Protrusion of the rectum into the back vaginal wall
- Uterine prolapse—Descent of the uterus and cervix down through the vagina
As pelvic structures lose support, women may experience symptoms like:
- Feeling of heaviness or pressure in the pelvis
- Bulge or protrusion extending out of the vagina
- Urinary or bowel issues like incontinence
- Discomfort and difficulty with sexual intercourse
- Lower back pain
Pelvic floor repair surgery aims to restore support and lift fallen pelvic organs back into their proper anatomical position. This is achieved by reinforcing weakened vaginal walls using a patient’s native tissue or graft materials.. There are three main minimally invasive approaches:
Vaginal surgery offers repair of the pelvic floor muscles through the vaginal vault. Small incisions are made in the walls of the vagina to restore normal anatomy or reduce prolapsing organs, such as the uterus, bladder or rectum. These vaginal procedures can help relieve the pelvic pressure from prolapse by reinforcing the pelvic floor muscles.
Laparoscopic sacrocolpopexy involves small abdominal incisions. A mesh graft is attached to the cervix or upper vagina and sacrum bone to provide uplift. This specifically addresses vaginal vault prolapse after hysterectomy.
Robotic surgery offers 3D visualization and precision movements to suture mesh grafts to pelvic floor anatomy through tiny incisions. This stabilizes organs like the bladder or rectum in the correct position.
Compared to open abdominal surgery, minimally invasive pelvic floor repair results in:
- Smaller incisions for less pain and scarring
- Reduced risk of infection with fewer cuts
- Shorter hospitalization—often performed as outpatient surgery
- Faster return to normal activities like work and exercise
- Smaller scars that fade more over time
With advanced surgical skills, our AllSafeMD surgeons can reconstruct pelvic anatomy using meticulous laparoscopic or robotic techniques. This provides excellent restoration of pelvic support with the advantages of minimally invasive procedures.
Urethral Slings for Treating Stress Urinary Incontinence
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) involves involuntary leakage of urine during physical exertion. Activities like coughing, laughing, or exercise put pressure on weakened pelvic floor muscles, causing uncontrolled urine release. This embarrassing condition can disrupt work, exercise, sex, and overall quality of life.
Urethral sling procedures offer a minimally invasive solution to stress incontinence. A soft mesh strip is placed under the urethra like a hammock or sling to provide extra support. This prevents the urethra from descending during physical activities that increase abdominal pressure. It is designed to gently compress the urethra closed.
There are two main options for minimally invasive anti-incontinence sling placement:
- Retropubic slings—Mesh tape is placed between the urethra and pubic bone through tiny abdominal incisions
- Transobturator slings—The mesh sling passes from the vagina around the obturator muscles and urethra
Both approaches have high success rates above 80 to 90% in significantly reducing or eliminating stress leakage. The small incisions involved cause less pain and allow faster recovery than open surgical sling placement.
Who Is a Candidate for These Procedures?
Good candidates for minimally invasive pelvic floor repair or stress incontinence slings include:
- Women suffering from bothersome prolapse or SUI looking for relief
- Those with mild to moderate pelvic organ descent or leakage
- Patients who have failed more conservative treatments like Kegels
- Women looking for less invasive surgical options to correct pelvic support issues
- Healthy patients with no major illnesses or risk factors for surgery or anesthesia
The AllSafeMD surgeons will conduct a comprehensive evaluation during a consultation visit. They will determine if you are a good candidate based on factors like medical history, exam findings, severity of symptoms, and treatment goals. Nonsurgical options are also discussed.
What to Expect with Minimally Invasive Pelvic Surgery
Our experienced AllSafe Medical Group surgeons rely on advanced techniques like laparoscopy or robotics to perform pelvic floor reconstruction and sling placement through tiny incisions.
These outpatient procedures are performed under general anesthesia, so patients are completely asleep and experience no discomfort. The surgery typically lasts 1 to 2 hours. Small incisions of less than 1 inch are made in the abdomen or vagina.
After surgery, patients recover for several hours before being discharged home. We recommend arranging for someone to drive you home. Postoperative pain is generally mild with medication prescribed to keep patients comfortable.
Recovery typically involves:
- 1 week of rest with light activity
- Avoiding heavy lifting over 15 pounds for 4 to 6 weeks
- Refraining from sexual intercourse for a minimum of 1 month
- Returning to driving within about 2 weeks
- Resuming normal exercise by 6 weeks
Patients will have a follow-up visit with the surgeon about 2 weeks post-op to ensure they are healing well. Any concerns are addressed, and additional recovery instructions are provided.
The Benefits of Choosing Minimally Invasive Pelvic Floor Repair or Sling Surgery
There are many advantages to minimally invasive approaches over open surgery through large abdominal incisions:
- Smaller incisions cause less pain and enable faster healing
- Lower risk of infection when fewer and smaller cuts are made
- An average of only 2 to 4 tiny 1 cm incisions compared to a 6+ inch open incision
- Often performed as outpatient surgery with no hospital admission required
- Shorter recovery—return to normal activities within 1 to 2 weeks compared to 4 to 6 weeks with open surgery
- Creates minimal scarring that fades more over time
- Causes less blood loss and need for transfusions
- High success rates—around 85% long-term improvement in prolapse and 90% for incontinence
Our AllSafeMD surgeons have the skills, experience, and expertise to perform these advanced procedures safely and effectively through such tiny incisions. This allows optimal restoration of pelvic support with the many benefits of minimally invasive surgery.
Risks and Complications to Consider with Surgical Procedures
While major risks are uncommon with small incision procedures, patients should be aware of possible complications, including:
- Bleeding or blood clots
- Infection of incision sites or mesh graft—less than 3% risk
- Injury to surrounding nerves, muscles, organs, or tissues
- Recurrent prolapse or incontinence
- Temporary difficulty urinating after sling placement
- Mesh erosion through the vaginal wall (rare—less than 2%)
- Risks related to anesthesia, such as nausea or respiratory problems
Our AllSafe Medical Group surgeons take precautions to minimize risks. They have advanced training in minimally invasive techniques to optimize safety and outcomes. Patients are monitored closely during procedures and the recovery period to promptly address any issues.
Who Performs These Minimally Invasive Surgeries?
Specialized training and experience are necessary to safely and effectively perform small incision pelvic floor repair and stress incontinence sling procedures. These advanced procedures should only be performed by board-certified surgeons with expertise in:
- Laparoscopic and robotic pelvic surgery techniques
- Pelvic anatomy and disorders like prolapse and incontinence
- Urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery
At AllSafe Medical Group, our surgeons have many additional years of specialized training beyond core OBGYN residency. They have performed hundreds to thousands of successful minimally invasive pelvic procedures.
Patients can trust that they are in the most capable hands when choosing our team of experts. We provide personalized, compassionate care guided by extensive knowledge and experience.
Pelvic Floor Repair and Urethral Slings in Orange
Pelvic floor weakness resulting in prolapse or incontinence can significantly disrupt women’s lives. As discussed here, minimally invasive surgical procedures like laparoscopic or robotic pelvic floor repair and urethral slings offer solutions to restore full daily comfort and quality of life.