UROGYNECOLOGY PATIENT EDUCATION: VISUALIZING SURGICAL MANAGEMENT OF PELVIC ORGAN PROLAPSE
Welker, Samantha A.
MetadataShow full item record
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a common condition among postmenopausal women, with some 200,000 corrective surgeries being performed annually in the United States. Prolapse occurs due to weakened support of the pelvic organs, allowing them to herniate into, or beyond, the vaginal opening. The female pelvis is a complex anatomical region, with increasing complexity during POP. Despite detailed, preoperative counseling, most women have difficulty understanding the options, benefits, and risks of their upcoming surgical procedure. There are limited visual resources available to assist patients in their education of POP. Accessible patient-oriented illustrations favor static before-and-after views, leaving patients to guess the intermediate stages of prolapse. Existing surgical illustrations are often graphic and overly complex for patients. Current animations may enhance understanding, however, they utilize dark, intense color palettes, robotic narrations, and bulky three-dimensional models, creating an uninviting, foreboding atmosphere. Three patient-friendly animations were created to assist patients in the understanding of their condition. The first animation provides an overview of POP prevalence, symptoms, and anatomy. The second and third animations explain two different corrective surgical procedures available to women, a sacral colpopexy and a uterosacral suspension. POP is sensitive topic because it involves a woman’s reproductive organs. Therefore, simplified anatomy, inviting colors, on-screen text, and a female narration were incorporated to appeal to patients. Effectiveness of the animations was assessed through direct participation with patients and the use of questionnaires. First, patients completed a pre-counseling questionnaire, then viewed all three animations, and finally completed a post-counseling questionnaire. Particular attention was given to patient reaction and feedback. Patients found that the animations provided a successful visual aid to assist in their understanding of pelvic organ prolapse and the surgical options available to them. Anatomical landmarks, such as attachment sites of the vagina and surgical mesh, remained unclear to some patients after a single viewing of the animations. The animations are available online to allow patients to review them and share them with family.