Dr Bruce Farnsworth

Pelvic Reconstructive Surgeon






               Deciding on Surgery

Deciding on Surgery 


Surgery is an option in the treatment of prolapse and incontinence. 

Common attitudes amongst patients contemplating surgery include:

1. Modern medicine can fix these things without risk of complications or problems

2. i should act now to prevent things getting worse as I don't want to end up old and incontinent

3. I can get back to normal immediately after surgery because of modern surgical techniques


In reality,  these statements are rarely correct.


The Facts

Any technique that involves surgery is subject to complications and risk. Because prolapse and incontinence surgery is quality of life surgery it is elective and can be deferred indefinitely.

There is still a real risk of major  complications and maybe even death as a result of this surgery.

There is no sensible reason to operate early in this condition. If surgery is done too early then the improvement of symptoms will be far outweighed by the potential risk. If we wait until you really need this surgery then the risk is probably justified by the potential benefit.

New technologies are developing at a rapid rate and there is a good chance that an even better treatment option will be available for you in the near future.

Every operation has risks. Only you can decide if the benefits are worth the risks.


Questions you need to Ask

What is the surgery? 

What is it actually trying to achieve? 

What does your GP think about the surgery?

Are there non surgery options to treat this problem ?

Is this surgery the common surgery for this condition? What other options are available?


Consider the risks and benefits

How many similar surgeries has your doctor performed?

How many of these operations are done at this hospital?

What is the success rate?

What does success mean to you and what does it mean to your doctor ?

What can go wrong ?  How often does this happen ?

How will you feel after surgery?

How long will it take until you are fully recovered?

How can you best prepare for the surgery and recovery period?


Consider the costs

How much does the operation cost?

Is it fully covered by health insurance?

How can I make this operation affordable?


How to make your decision

When talking to your doctor ask yourself how much does the problem really bother you ? 

Are you willing to put up with the symptoms to avoid surgery ?

What are your concerns about the surgery?

Do you want to have the surgery at this time?

Would you like a second opinion?


Click here to help decide which surgeon should do your operation ?