Uterosacral Ligament Suspension
Uterosacral ligament suspension is a procedure that is designed to restore support to the uterus and the vaginal vault, or the top of the vagina. Uterosacral ligament suspension is a minimally invasive surgical treatment for uterine or vaginal prolapse, that surgically lifts up the top of the vagina and holds it in place.
The uterosacral ligaments are strong and supportive ligaments that attach the cervix to the sacrum, or bottom of the spine. These ligaments can become stretched and weakened as a result of pelvic organ prolapse. A uterosacral ligament suspension is a procedure that stitches the uterosacral ligaments to the top of the vagina, restoring support. Uterosacral ligament suspension may be performed laparoscopically or through the vagina or abdomen.
Candidates for Uterosacral Ligament Suspension
Women who are suffering from uterine or vaginal prolapse may benefit from the uterosacral ligament suspension procedure. Uterine prolapse involves the dropping of the uterus into the vaginal canal as a result of weakened pelvic floor muscles, which can occur as a result of aging, multiple pregnancies or after a hysterectomy. It is most common in post-menopausal women. Patients suffering from uterine prolapse may experience a sensation of heaviness in the pelvis, difficulty urinating, lower back pain and sexual dysfunction. The uterosacral ligament suspension procedure helps to restore the prolapsed organs back into place, alleviating the uncomfortable symptoms caused by uterine prolapse.
The Uterosacral Ligament Suspension Procedure
Patients are given general anesthesia so they will be asleep during the procedure. During the uterosacral ligament suspension procedure, the doctor makes an incision in the top of the vagina. The doctor then uses stitches or permanent sutures to attach the top of the vagina to the uterosacral ligaments. The vagina is then pulled up into normal position. The uterosacral ligament suspension may also be performed through abdominal or laparoscopic incisions.
Risks of Uterosacral Ligament Suspension
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks of uterosacral ligament suspension which may include:
- Injury to the uterus or bladder
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Bladder infections
- Blood clots
Recovery from Uterosacral Ligament Suspension
After uterosacral ligament suspension surgery, the patient will stay in the hospital for one or two days. Patients may experience pain and cramping and will be given pain medication for discomfort. A catheter may remain inserted for up to 24 hours after the procedure. Patients may experience spotting and a white or yellow vaginal discharge for up to six weeks after the surgery. Regular activities can usually be resumed six weeks after surgery. Sexual intercourse is not recommended until at least eight weeks after the uterosacral ligament suspension procedure.
Most patients recover well from the uterosacral ligament suspension procedure and find relief from the symptoms and discomfort of uterine or vaginal prolapse.
- National Institutes of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine