Location and Anatomic Characterization of the Sacrospinous Ligaments in Women With Pelvic Organ Prolapse
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Pelvic organ prolapse is a common disorder that results in significant patient morbidity. Approximately 1 in 9 women undergo surgery for the correction of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and associated bladder and bowel dysfunction. Despite its common occurrence, the cause of POP remains largely unknown. Prolapse is thought to be caused by direct injury to the levator ani (LA) muscle, denervation of the pelvic floor musculature, or fascial damage incurred during childbirth trauma. The sacrospinous ligaments are commonly employed surgical structures employed to repair vaginal prolapse. Despite the frequent use of these structures in prolapse surgery, there is a paucity of information regarding the identification of these structures outside of surgical dissection. Furthermore, there is no published data describing the relative distances between the apex of the vagina and these ligaments in women with prolapse. Recent developments in imaging have enabled the identification of the distal subdivisions of the levator ani, classifying as: pubovaginalis, puboanalis, and the puboperinealis as the subdivisions of the pubovisceralis. The visualization of these structures is possible using a 3D ultrasound technique (BK medical, Wilmington, MA), that has been validated in cadavers and in live humans, with excellent interrater reliability. The investigators propose to use this technology to explore the anatomy of the sacrospinous ligaments.
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