A New, Minimally Invasive Solution for Female Constipation
Maintaining normal bowel movements can be a tricky task for many women, and bowel problems can worsen after childbirth and after menopause. In many cases, the best solutions are completely natural. However when natural approaches don’t resolve the problem, women may experience dramatic improvement with a new, outpatient procedure developed by our team, currently offered only at our center.
Obstructed Defecation (OD) is a subtype of constipation in which stools feel stuck and unable to fully pass. Women often feel a sense of fullness even after trying to empty their bowels, and often spend a long time on the toilet.
Until recently, there was no minimally invasive solution for OD. Our team developed a novel surgical procedure called transvaginal rectopexy, involving no external incisions and relieving OD symptoms in many cases. We are rethinking and improving traditional approaches, and changing the landscape for women with OD and constipation.
Symptoms of OD
- Constipation or “stuck stools”
- Feeling of incomplete emptying during bowel movements
- Needing to change position on the toilet to complete bowel movements
- Needing to press with a finger, around the vaginal or rectal area, to complete bowel movements
- Change in shape of stools
- Needing to use frequent laxatives, stool softeners or other remedies
- “Spending a long time in the bathroom”
How This Treatment is Different
Our surgery is performed through a single vaginal incision, in approximately 30-60 minutes. The procedure involves no preoperative bowel preparation, and most patients are discharged home a few hours after the surgery. During the recovery period, we expect patients to temporarily avoid certain strenuous activities but otherwise may resume a rapid return to daily and social routines.
No External Incision
Traditional bowel repair operations often involve an abdominal approach. This means an open abdominal incision, or several laparoscopic ports. Our transvaginal technique is performed with no outer incisions, actually no abdominal surgery at all. The entire repair is performed through a single vaginal incision. This is associated with rapid healing and quick recovery.
Many standard rectal support operations use mesh implants in order to fix the rectum into position. Our transvaginal rectal support technique uses no mesh implant. Instead, it reinforces and suspends your own natural connective tissues — a method referred to as “native tissue repair”.
Are You a Candidate? Answer that Question with a Quick Scan.
We utilize dynamic 3D pelvic ultrasound for the evaluation of OD / constipation, as it gives an immediate indication of the best path forward, and makes each woman’s likelihood of responding to surgery fairly predictable. In fact we’ve developed new 3D pelvic ultrasound measures that allow us to specifically determine whether OD symptoms are the result of loosened internal rectal attachments. If certain rectal support defects are found, this provides a great indication that transvaginal rectopexy will be successful in relieving OD symptoms. 3D ultrasound requires no preparation, takes about 10 minutes, and involves no pain. A new diagnostic ultrasound method, used to determine the potential success of a new minimally invasive rectal support surgery: all of it demonstrating our team’s innovation at work!
Sometimes, no surgery is the best approach
For many women having an evaluation at our center for bowel symptoms, it becomes clear that non-surgical approaches are the best fit. This often includes pelvic floor physiotherapy, biofeedback, natural remedies and over the counter medications. We take pride in helping each patient find the least invasive and most effective solution for her problem.
Partnership and Collaboration
Within our integrated healthcare system, we work closely with colorectal surgeons with expertise in traditional rectal support operations, and who may offer a different array of diagnostic tests. Our goal is to work collaboratively to be sure you’ve explored all options and can make a comfortable and well informed decision that best matches your condition.
Who We’ve Helped
After having two kids, I didn’t know if I’d ever play competitive tennis again. Dr. Goldberg helped me get back on the court almost immediately and I could not be more thrilled.
Being a nurse of many years can be problematic in that some providers think “I know everything” and I certainly don’t. Dr. Dutta explained everything in detail, which was very helpful to me because I don’t know much about my problem except what I can find on the internet. She was amazing.
Another doctor that keeps me at NorthShore. Very kind and very caring to his patients. Thank you.
Let’s get you feeling like yourself again.
From scheduling a telemedicine consultation to helping you arrange travel before and after your treatment, we are here to support you at every step. Reach out with questions or to get started.