It's an embarrassing condition many women don't talk about, but the fact is up to 11 percent of women will deal with pelvic organ prolapse in their lifetime. It happens when a woman's insides literally collapse. In April's Health Check, when a surgeon and robot team up, recovery is faster and less painful.
"This has been kind of a transitional week." says Sharon O'Brien, who feels like a new woman. It wasn't long ago the avid equestrian worried she'd have to give up riding her horse Gershwin because of incontinence, tenderness and bleeding. Other doctors told her it was just part of getting older.
"I don't like hearing I can't, I won't, I shouldn't, I wouldn't," she said. "There has to be a way and there is a way."
Dr. Sami Zeineddine with Alegent Health provided the answer with robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery. "This is the camera arm." The Da Vinci robot gives Dr. Zeineddine extra arms to operate. "The arms will move the way I want," he said.
3-D vision gives him a better view and foot pedals allow the doctor to move things where he wants. The end result is four to five mini-incisions are made instead of one huge incision.
"Patients can go home the same day if not the second day, go back to full function in two weeks and less pain, less pain and whatnot and be more productive."
"There's nothing that says I had huge invasive surgery and my recovery time, eight weeks, that's nothing and I'm mobile," said Sharon, who will be back on Gershwin in weeks instead of waiting months with traditional surgery.
Pelvic organ prolapse is common. There are many causes, including genetics, race and childbirth. Not every woman will need surgery, as there are other treatment options.