Patient Testimonial: Venita Wilson

Published on March 8, 2016

An illness or condition in the female pelvis can interfere with participating in family activities. It can limit a woman’s ability to participate in family and social activities, keep herself active and fit, or even hamper her relationships with her spouse. Understandably, women may find seeking help to be frightening, frustrating or even embarrassing if they are suffering from an illness in the private areas of the body. However, women finding a treatment or cure and getting their health back know that seeking help is worth the effort!  At least that was the case for Venita Wilson, a baby boomer from Livermore, KY, who recently found the help she had been seeking from Kate Meriwether, M.D. and UofL Physicians – Urogynecology

“I had been suffering with a vaginal bulge for nearly a decade,” explained Venita. She also suffered with leakage of urine with cough, laugh and sneeze and leaked urine with urgency. Thus, in October of 2015, she decided it was time.  With a referral from her OB/GYN in Owensboro, she made an appointment with Dr. Meriwether to find a solution. Dr. Meriwether reported that during Venita’s initial visit, “her exam revealed that she had significant pelvic organ prolapse, a problem where the vaginal walls fall down and outward through the vaginal opening.” Dr. Meriwether continued, “This condition is not uncommon, as nearly 1 in 10 women are bothered by a vaginal bulge or urinary leakage in their lifetime, and these problems limit normal daily activities. The unfortunate thing is that unlike Venita, few women seek treatment. That is what I hope we can help change.” 

After the exam, Dr. Meriwether knew she could offer Venita a solution. Offering her a few vaginal or laparoscopic surgery options, Venita opted for the surgery that would provide a “longer lasting” repair called a sacrocolpopexy.  “A sacrocolpopexy, or a mesh procedure done laparoscopically or robotically, is more durable than a vaginal repair with the patient’s own tissue,” explained Dr. Meriwether. “This type of mesh placed through laparoscopy in the belly is safer and results in fewer complications than mesh placed through the vagina for prolapse,” she added. Sacrocolpopexy has a faster recovery time than some other more invasive options, like surgery through a large incision. The pain from the small incisions healing is minimalized compared to a large incision healing. In addition, the risk of the prolapse coming back after the sacrocolpopexy is less than a vaginal procedure.  Venita scheduled her chosen procedure for the next month.    

The procedure involved 5 small incisions (<1 cm each) in the belly wall, and the use of slender, long instruments and a camera (laparoscope) to enter the belly cavity and take the bladder and the rectum off of the vagina in the front and back. These laparoscopic instruments were then used to place mesh on the front and back wall of the vagina and attach this mesh to a strong ligament that runs down the front of the tailbone on the belly side.  A mid-urethral sling was also completed to prevent urinary leakage after the surgery. Made more difficult because of some scar tissue in Venita’s body from prior surgeries, this surgery required a lot of skill and lasted 8 hours. Keeping Venita safe, performing the surgery correctly and doing the surgery through the small incisions, required Dr. Meriwether’s advanced experience in this type of surgery and expertise in laparoscopic surgery. 

Dr. Meriwether confirmed that Venita only spent one night in the hospital and was up walking, eating and showering the day after surgery. “This is not the case of patients that have large open surgeries who need to spend several nights in the hospital and find their recovery much slower.”

Reflecting on her experience, Venita has been very pleased with her care before, during and after surgery. “Dr. Meriwether follows up and takes time to answer my questions. Everyone at her office was also very kind and gracious,” shared Venita.  Throughout Venita’s recovery time, she has been feeling really good. “I am so pleased with the care that I received at UofL Physicians and how much better I feel that I have already told my sisters and other female family members that if they need help, they need to go to Louisville and see Dr. Meriwether.”

UofL Physicians – Urogynecology or Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery treats women with pelvic floor disorders, such as incontinence (urinary or fecal) and prolapse (bulging or falling) of the vagina, bladder or uterus.  Drs. Sean Francis and Kate Meriwether are two of only a few physicians in the Louisville area who are fellowship trained and board-certified in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. They are joined by Heather D. Lange, APRN, a nurse practitioner who has been with the group since 2015 and has over 10 years of experience providing gynecological care.

To make an appointment, please call 502-588-4400 or visit www.uoflphysicians.com/urogynecology.