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Female Reconstructive Surgery – Overview

February 7, 2021
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"Female reconstructive surgery generally refers to the surgical repair of the female pelvic organs for conditions such as incontinence and prolapse, and sometimes cosmetic procedures. A urologist or gynecologist can have subspecialty training in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, meaning they have undergone additional training after residency to specialize in the treatment of female pelvic floor disorders. The majority of female reconstructive procedures are considered elective, meaning they don't have to be repaired. However, many women benefit from these procedures as they can improve quality of life. Approximately 11% of women will have a procedure for incontinence or prolapse by the time she is 80 years of age.

A physician should be consulted if a woman is bothered by her symptoms. For instance, two women may have mild loss of bladder control when playing tennis. One of these women may actually stop playing tennis because of this, while the other isn't bothered at all. The woman who has stopped playing tennis might consider consultation for treatment of her condition. Natural childbirth is a common cause of damage to the pelvic floor resulting in pelvic floor disorders. Other risk factors for pelvic floor disorders include major pelvic surgery, prior pelvic radiation, and certain connective tissue disorders. Pelvic reconstructive surgery can fix conditions such as stress urinary incontinence, or when a woman loses loss of bladder control when she coughs or sneezes, or if a woman has a falling bladder or falling uterus. The risks of female reconstructive surgery depend on what procedure is being performed. Some procedures for mild cases of incontinence can be performed in the office with minimal risk, while other major prolapse surgeries are done abdominally or laparoscopically and include removal of the uterus. All surgical procedures have risks and benefits, but in order to maximize outcomes and minimize complications, it is recommended that a female pelvic medicine reconstructive surgery specialist be consulted for any female pelvic surgery. For some cases of incontinence and prolapse, physical therapy may actually treat the condition or at least prevent progression. If a pelvic floor reconstructive surgery is performed, pelvic floor physical therapy or pelvic floor exercise may prevent recurrence."

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