Sunset Park resident Barbara Sampayo loves exploring New York City. But last year, a sudden pain and discomfort caught her off guard while sightseeing with her grandchildren.
“After walking just a few blocks I needed to stop,” says Sampayo, 63, who had been struggling with pelvic organ prolapse, a condition that occurs when organs in the pelvis drop following childbirth or due to muscle weakness, often causing extreme pain and an uncomfortable protrusion.
Thousands of women across the country experience the disorder. While Sampayo was aware of her condition, she was unsure about options to treat it. After speaking with her primary care physician, she discovered there were medical and surgical solutions to help. That’s when she came to know NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn’s Cedric Olivera, MD, clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU School of Medicine and one of the few female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery specialists in Brooklyn.
“Too many women are unaware they can get help for prolapse,” says Dr. Olivera, who has enjoyed watching how his patients’ lives change following prolapse surgery. “These procedures improve a woman’s quality of life, sexual health, overall confidence, and body image. They are enormously grateful after they’ve taken the big step to have surgery.”
Dr. Olivera performed pelvic organ prolapse surgery on Sampayo last January using the minimally invasive da Vinci® Xi robotic surgical system. She was discharged home the same day of her surgery and now, four months later, she’s back to exploring the city with her family.
“I can walk several miles without anything bothering me,” she says. “Everything is the way it should be now and I’m not slowing down anymore. I feel great.”
The surgery has enabled her to be more physically active and led to an unexpected result: “I’ve lost more than 70 pounds,” Sampayo says.
Dr. Olivera says while surgery for pelvic organ prolapse yields the best results, there are nonsurgical alternatives as well. The most important thing is to discuss options with a physician, he says. “Without treatment, pelvic organ prolapse can lead to urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, low self-esteem, loss of libido, and a lower quality of life,” he warns.
The board-certified specialists at NYU Langone Health’s Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery helped to create national guidelines for treating pelvic organ prolapse and have been clinical trailblazers in the field. NYU Langone Health clinicians work with patients to find the right treatment, taking into consideration age, lifestyle, and pregnancy plans.
“The clinical talent we have at NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, like Dr. Olivera, coupled with the quality of care and expertise in NYU Langone Health’s Center for Female Pelvic Medicine, positions us as leaders in this field,” says David Keefe, MD, the Stanley H. Kaplan Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone Health. “Like with most conditions, we take a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse and we’re proud of how this collaboration yields great results for our patients.”