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Pelvic floor disorders: A new breakthrough treatment

Sarah Kelsey is a lifestyle writer, editor and spokesperson based in Toronto. She was the editor of AOL/The Huffington Post Canada’s StyleList, Style and Living sites. Today, she's a freelancer writing for some of North America’s top pub...

Treating pelvic floor disorders

According to the National Institute of Health, almost one-third of women in the US are affected by pelvic floor disorders (PFD). For years, synthetic mesh-based grafts have been used to surgically treat the condition. But recently, the FDA has received thousands of complaints that the grafts have led to vaginal erosion and extreme prolapse (when organs, like the uterus, fall into the vagina). Luckily there's hope. The medical community is buzzing about a new graft, the Surgisis Biodesign Vaginal Erosion Repair Graft, and its ability to positively treat women with PFD and its side effects. To learn more, we chatted with lead researcher Dr Manish P Patel and asked him what this kind of breakthrough means for women suffering from PFD and prolapse.

Dr. Manish PatelWhat you need to know about a new PFD treatment

SheKnows.com: Why is the surgical repair of prolapse so important?
Dr Patel:
The surgical treatment of pelvic organ prolapse is important because even though the condition is treatable, many women choose to suffer in silence as a result of their fears and anxieties… It's important for women to know that pelvic floor disorders like prolapse and urinary incontinence are quite common… and surgery or surgical repair can help women return to a better quality of life.

Surgical repair is also important because, for some women, the prolapse can become worse over time and can cause discomfort especially after walking or standing for long periods of time, retention of urine, difficulty with bowel function, urinary incontinence, infections and other more serious medical conditions.

SheKnows.com: What should people know about surgical procedures?
Dr Patel:
Pelvic reconstructive surgery is generally considered to be the best treatment for prolapse and, for many, surgery is required to repair the pelvic floor and restore a better quality of life.

SheKnows.com: Tell us about your recent study.
Dr Patel:
I had the opportunity to use the Biodesign Vaginal Erosion Repair Graft to treat vaginal mesh exposures, a complication that sometimes results from the use of synthetic mesh in a previous pelvic floor repair procedure. In the study, the exposed synthetic mesh was completely removed and the Biodesign graft was implanted to help restore and repair the pelvic floor naturally. I am pleased to report that the Biodesign graft has proven to be an effective and lasting treatment option for patients suffering from serious complications like erosion from a previous pelvic reconstructive procedure.

SheKnows.com: Can you please describe the Biodesign Vaginal Erosion Repair Graft?
Dr Patel:
The Biodesign Vaginal Erosion Repair Graft is a biologically-based graft that was developed by Cook for the replacement and repair of the pelvic floor. [The] graft enables the natural reproduction of human tissues and allows the biologic repair to become a natural, functioning part of the body.

During the procedure, the graft reinforces the pelvic floor or vaginal wall and, over time, communicates with the patient's body, signaling surrounding tissue to grow across the scaffold where the pelvic floor needs to be repaired.

Once the healing process is complete, the biologic graft is undetectable, providing a durable repair. And with Biodesign, neither physicians nor patients need to worry about the incidence of infection, as the material remodels into vascular host tissue, allowing the body's own defense mechanisms to reach and respond to infection. Unlike synthetic mesh, Biodesign is resistant to infection, encapsulation and erosion.

SheKnows.com: Who will benefit from this new graft the most?
Dr Patel:
Patients who have undergone or will undergo a pelvic floor repair procedure. Also, those patients who have experienced complications including urinary problems, recurrence of the prolapse, or exposure of a previous synthetic mesh repair. A biologically-based graft like Biodesign will provide these women with a durable repair and a natural, lasting solution.

SheKnows.com: What does this graft mean for women with the condition?
Dr Patel:
Women living with prolapse have been forced to endure embarrassing symptoms that can cause their emotional, social and physical health to quickly decline. But with new, effective treatment options available today, women don't have to suffer in silence any longer or with difficult pessary devices. Managed effectively and successfully, prolapse can be treated and healed without repeat surgeries allowing women nationwide a full and active lifestyle they want and deserve.

The really good news? The graft is now on the market for women looking for relief. Talk to your doctor to see if the Biodesign Vaginal Erosion Repair Graft is right for you.

More on women's health

Understanding pelvic floor prolapse
What you need to know about urinary incontinence
Medical tests you need
Health issues for women over 40
Your very personal health at 20, 30 and 40
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