Is my urinary incontinence bad enough to get treated?
This is a quality of life issue and the answer depends on the individual. Some women are severely affected by relatively small amounts of leakage. Other women don't mind wearing a panty-liner. For simple urinary incontinence, our treatments are so minimally invasive and patient satisfaction is so high that we generally encourage to woman to seek treatment if they are bothered by their bladder symptoms.
My doctor said I should try Kegels first, is that true?
When done properly, Kegel exercises can strengthen and tone the pelvic floor muscles. In many women, this may be all that is needed. However, when conservative measures fail, women should understand there are several options available other than Kegel exercises.
Urinary incontinence is just part of getting older isn't it?
No. It is true incontinence is common. However, it is not normal or expected. And women certainly don't have to live with it.
Is the surgery for urinary incontinence painful?
Every patient recovers differently. In general, minimally invasive surgeries of today are very well tolerated.
Will having prolapse or reconstructive surgery hurt my sex life?
Long-term pain with sex is uncommon after surgery. During the healing process, you will be instructed to not have sex. However, once completely healed, many patients report improved sex life after surgery.
What about vaginal rejuvenation or vaginal plastic surgery?
The terms "Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation" and "Designer Vaginoplasty," and "vaginal tightening" are trademarked terms referring to one type of vaginal reconstruction. Unfortunately for the medical community, these specific techniques have never been studied or objectively evaluated. What we do know is that many doctors use terms like "laser" and "designer" for their marketing appeal. However, these appear to be mostly just modifications to well established and studied surgical techniques.
The well established techniques are taught as part of a rigorous Board Accredited fellowship program in Urogynecology and Reconstructive Surgery. Pelvic anatomy is one of the most complex areas of the body and even today we continue to make new discoveries and improve our understanding. If patients feel that something is not normal, then we recommend a consultation with a fellowship-trained Urogynecologist that understands the complicated anatomy and has the surgical experience to provide the best possible result. Many women may have a common medical disorder like prolapse that can be surgically repaired and is covered by insurance.
Does Dr. Stepp perform second opinions?
Yes. Second opinions are a part of specialized medicine and Dr. Stepp works with primary care providers and gynecologists to provide the best possible care for each patient in a coordinated way. Referring physicians can access their patient's records using a web-based electronic medical record via a VPN secure access and are kept up to date with copies of all evaluations and treatments when appropriate.
I had prior vaginal surgery and am not happy with the results. Is there anything that can be done?
Unfortunately, Dr. Stepp also sees many patients who have suffered complications from prior surgeries. Whether you have had prior failed surgeries or you are not happy with the result of your surgery, Dr. Stepp is experienced in treating complications and received the highest level of training in pelvic reconstructive surgery.
I'm from out of town. What should I bring with me during the initial consultation?
Patients considering a consultation from out of town may contact Dr. Stepp via the Contact Us page prior to arranging travel. Dr. Stepp will review your records ahead of time if they can be faxed to our office.
I'm traveling to Charlotte for my consultation, where should I stay?
We are happy to provide you with hotel choices of varying price ranges. Call our office at 704-304-1160 we can help.
How soon can I return to work after surgery?
Returning to work will depend on several factors. In general, Dr. Stepp generally recommends at least 2 weeks of no lifting more than 10 lbs for urinary incontinence procedures and advanced laparoscopic cases. Patients heal differently and some may feel fatigued throughout the day for up to several days. For laparoscopic surgery, recovery time can range from just a few days to 2-4 weeks depending on the procedure performed. For simple urinary incontinence surgery, many women can return to normal activities in 2 weeks. Activity levels can generally be slowly increased as tolerated. For more complicated pelvic reconstruction, we may recommend up to 6 weeks off work.
I am an athlete, play sports and/or participate in daily fitness activities. After surgery how long will it be before I can start my athletic training or daily fitness activities?
Each patient is different and every procedure is different. Dr. Stepp treats runners, softball players, weightlifters, competitive dancers, and other types of athletes — returning to your activity varies by patient with limited recovery by sport.
How long will the surgery results last?
It is, of course, difficult to predict how long results from any surgery will last for any one patient. The success rates and long-term results will depend on the type of procedure performed. Dr. Stepp is happy to discuss the risks, benefits, and the results of long-term data with you in detail. Dr. Stepp will tailor your surgery to your particular needs. Click here to review the benefits of each type of reconstructive procedure.
Can I drive after surgery?
Dr. Stepp recommends no driving if you are still taking any pain medications. Depending on the type of surgery, driving may be restricted for up to 1 to 2 weeks. For more involved procedures, this may be extended.
Can I go up and down stairs after surgery?
Yes. As soon as you are strong enough, there is no reason to avoid stairs.
How long will I stay in the hospital?
Depending on the type of surgery, patients may go home the same day or the next day. Rarely, patients may stay 2 or more nights in the hospital.