There are general risks involved with having an operation, including the anaesthetic, bleeding and blood transfusion, infection within the pelvis or wound and clots in the legs that can travel to the lungs. Antibiotic are given during surgery and continued after your operation to reduce the risk of infection. Medication (e.g. Fragmin or Clexane) to thin your blood is given during surgery and while you are in hospital to reduce your risk of developing blood clots. It is very uncommon to experience serious bleeding or need a blood transfusion or further surgery to control bleeding.
Generally there is improved sexual function after prolapse surgery. However, if vaginal surgery is also performed in addition to the robot assisted surgery about 2% of women may experience painful intercourse after surgery and this may require minor corrective surgery or the use of vaginal dilators.
Whenever synthetic graft is used, there is a small risk of a small portion of the synthetic graft becoming exposed the vagina. This is usually treated with vaginal oestrogen cream or pessaries if the vaginal skin is thin or a small vaginal operation to remove the small amount of exposed synthetic graft (the entire graft will not need to be removed). The risk of synthetic graft exposure is much lower when used in robotic assisted prolapse surgery compared to vaginal prolapse surgery. Synthetic graft exposure or erosion into nearby organs such as bladder or bowel is extremely rare.
Occasionally bladder problems can occur after surgery (e.g. difficulty with bladder emptying, cystitis or urinary leakage). These problems usually settle soon after surgery.
However, if incontinence remains a problem then a small operation or medication may be required. Pain may occur immediately after surgery but this generally settles after a few days or weeks. It is rare for women to experience long-term pain following prolapse surgery. Rare complications from prolapse surgery include injury to a nearby structure (e.g. bowel, bladder, ureter, nerve).
Dr Carey may inspect the bladder with a telescope (cystoscopy) at the completion of surgery to exclude any bladder or ureter injury. Long-term rare complications after prolapse surgery include bowel obstruction from adhesions and abdominal hernia (weakening and bulging of the robotic incisions). Further surgery may be necessary if a complication occurs.