Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Surgery for Uterine Prolapse

Cutaway view of uterus and vagina

The uterus is in the pelvis. If the structures that hold it in place weaken, the uterus can slip from its normal position. This is called uterine prolapse. When this happens, the uterus drops down into the vagina. In severe cases, the uterus can stick out from the vagina. Surgery can be done to fix the problem. This will relieve your symptoms.

Cutaway view of uterus and vagina

The surgical procedure

To fix the prolapse, the uterus is removed. This is called hysterectomy. Then, the vagina is lifted and supported so it stays in place. This type of surgery can be done through the vagina or abdomen. Stitches (sutures) are used to attach the vagina to strong tissue in the pelvis. Sometimes a synthetic material or biologic material is used to reinforce the repair. This supports the top part of the vagina. Other procedures may be done to keep the vagina from slipping again.

Incision site

Incision site

Your incisions

During surgery, the doctor reaches your pelvic organs through the vagina or the abdomen. If the pelvic organs are reached through the vagina, an incision is made in the wall of the vagina. If the pelvic organs are reached through the abdomen, several small incisions are made in the abdomen to insert tiny laparoscopic tools. Or one larger incision is made in the abdomen. The belly incision can be up and down (vertical) or across (transverse).


Possible risks and complications of prolapse surgery

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Risks of anesthesia

  • Damage to nerves, muscles, or nearby pelvic structures

  • Blood clots

  • Prolapse of the pelvic organ or organs occurring again