A cut of a female body showing the bladder in dark pink.
Bladder prolapse surgery is a procedure performed to repair the muscles in the body that support the bladder. Bladder prolapse is a condition suffered by many older women as the muscles in the front wall of the vagina – those that support the bladder – weaken and loosen. This deterioration is commonly attributed to age and the pressure exerted on the area during childbirth. Bladder prolapse is also associated with menopause, when the body stops producing estrogen, an important hormone to help maintain the strength of the muscles around the vagina. If these muscles weaken and can no longer support the bladder, it prolapses or descends into the vagina.
The human urinary tract, including the bladder in pink at the bottom.
Bladder prolapse symptoms can include more frequent bladder infections, difficulty urinating, bladder leakage as a result of coughing or sneezing, and painful intercourse. Bladder prolapse is also commonly associated with prolapse of other organs in the pelvis, including the uterus. Most prolapses get worse over time, so it’s important to see a doctor as soon as symptoms appear.
A scalpel is a small, sharp knife used in surgery to make incisions.
Extended bladders are separated by four degrees depending on how far the bladder falls into the vagina. A minor prolapse can be treated non-surgically with the insertion of a vaginal pessary. This is a device designed to support the vaginal muscles; it should be replaced every three to six months. A severely prolapsed bladder may require surgery. Bladder prolapse surgery is usually performed through the vagina, and the purpose of the procedure is to provide support for the vagina and uterus, holding the bladder back in its correct position and strengthening the muscles in the surrounding area.
Bladder surgery recovery time may depend on the type of bladder surgery performed.
Bladder prolapse surgery involves making an incision inside the vaginal wall and then using stitches to strengthen the tissues that support the vagina. These stitches can be placed on the front or back wall, depending on the type of bladder prolapse. The incision inside the vagina is then closed with stitches that usually dissolve in one to two weeks. In some patients, an additional stitch may be needed at the top of the vagina or on the cervix to support the vagina. A special mesh can also be used to reinforce the prolapse repair.
Some people experience urinary incontinence when they experience physical stress, such as sneezing.
Bladder prolapse surgery can be performed with the patient under general, regional, or local anesthesia. Most patients are discharged on the same day. The recovery period is typically around six weeks, and the surgery has an approximate 70 percent success rate.