Experts in Urogynecology — and Empathy

By: Melissa Moore
Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Women with urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse or other urogynecologic conditions need the highest level of care, delivered with utmost sensitivity.

The specialists at WellSpan Urogynecology & Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery recognize both of these imperatives. Unique for the region, the practice has two board-certified and fellowship-trained urogynecologists who exclusively practice female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery within WellSpan’s local systems of care in York, Gettysburg and Ephrata. These specialists make compassion a priority.

From Common to Complex

Dominique El-Khawand, MD, FACOG, Director of WellSpan Urogynecology & Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery, and Carlos Roberts, MD, FACOG, Director of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery and Vice Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at WellSpan York Hospital, and urogynecologist at WellSpan Urogynecology & Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery, draw on years of experience to treat a wide range of female pelvic disorders. Urodynamic studies, cystoscopies, pessary placement and injections for pelvic floor muscle spasms are available as in-office procedures, uniting the comfort of a physician’s office with state-of-the-art care to enhance patients’ quality of life.

Midurethral slings for stress urinary incontinence are also placed regularly, in a 30-minute, outpatient procedure with a success rate of approximately 80 percent. Additionally, endoscopic periurethral bulking for intrinsic sphincter deficiency is available for women who are dealing with stress urinary incontinence.

In treatment of pelvic organ prolapse and other conditions that require surgery, minimally invasive techniques and robotic-assisted surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System reduce postoperative pain and speed recovery. Compared with open procedures, robotic-assisted surgery uses much smaller incisions and reduces blood loss, while lowering risk of infection at the surgical site. The da Vinci can also be a benefit to patients during particularly complex procedures.

“Sacrocolpopexy, one of the gold standard techniques for the repair of uterine and vaginal wall prolapse, requires only an overnight stay when performed robotically,” says Dr. Roberts. “About 95 percent of my patients do not need narcotic pain medication for this procedure and are back on their feet the same day. In addition, we have three-dimensional visualization of the pelvis. In traditional surgery, you can palpate and see things with the naked eye, but compared with traditional surgery, the robotic technique provides significant magnification of the structures on which you’re operating.”

Care with Compassion

Even the most advanced urogynecologic care is valuable only if women feel comfortable seeking and receiving it — a principle WellSpan understands.

“Being compassionate is of paramount importance, and we treat patients the same way we would want to be treated,” Dr. El-Khawand says. “We design our schedules so we can take time with patients, and we spend the bulk of the visit listening to concerns, answering questions and educating our patients about their conditions.”

“Urinary or fecal incontinence, as well as pelvic organ prolapse, are sensitive medical conditions that some women find difficult to discuss and as a result are reluctant to seek medical care,” adds Dr. Roberts. “You have to be sensitive and build a good rapport so that they will disclose information to you — and you can then provide the best care for them.”

WellSpan Urogynecology & Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery has locations in Ephrata, Gettysburg and York to provide specialty care close to where patients live and work. For information, visit