Laparoscopic Surgical Correction for Absence of Vagina Featured on
Center for Women’s
Care & Reproductive Surgery First in U.S. to Offer Minimally Invasive
Solution for Rare Anomaly, MRKH Syndrome, in Laparoscopic Creation of
young Atlanta woman has joined dozens of others since 2005 who have
experienced the successful correction of MRKH Syndrome laparoscopically
by Dr. Tom Lyons at the Center for Women’s Care & Reproductive Surgery.
She provided a testimonial for CBS-TV’s Better Mornings Atlanta coverage
of the issue, airing Wednesday 7/20/11.
Before she located Dr. Lyons and the
Center for Women’s Care, this patient was like many other young women
born with an absent vaginal canal. Previously, the 22-year-old patient
(who chooses to remain anonymous) was subjected to misunderstanding,
painful exams, torturous procedures to correct the problem and personal
humiliation at the hands of numerous doctors and specialists unfamiliar
with the issue.
After suffering years of depression and
lack of confidence over her inability to have children or normal sexual
relations, she discovered that she was not alone with this issue.
Undetected Until Puberty
Up to a half million women in the U.S.,
or one in 5000 women, are born with anomalies of the urinary and
reproductive system. In females thousands of these mullerian anomalies,
including the absence of a vagina, may not be discovered until the girl
reaches puberty. Dr. Lyons explains in a video:
(Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser) syndrome includes failure of vaginal
development, whether or not the uterus is present. Adolescent girls with
MRKH syndrome and obstruction defects may complain that they have not
begun menstruation, labeled primary amenorrhea.
In some cases, female patients have
discovered their anomaly after inability to have intercourse because of
an absent vagina. For many, multiple painful attempts of intercourse
have led to distortion of existing external genital structures and
scarring of the area, as well as chronic pelvic pain.
In 2005, the Center for Women’s Care &
Reproductive Surgery in Atlanta became the first location in the U.S. to
correct this problem laparoscopically with the use of pelvic
Laparoscopy for Vaginal Aplasia, or Non-Development of the Vagina
Techniques for correction over
the years involved use of segments of the rectum, sigmoid colon and
small intestine, as well as skin graft. In 1898, using open surgery,
Dr. D.O. Ott formed a neovagina using peritoneum of the pelvis. It was
then discovered that the cells of the peritoneum (the smooth transparent
membrane lining the abdominal cavity) rapidly converted into typical
vaginal cells. Different approaches to this technique evolved over
Nearly 100 years later, in 1993
Dr. L.V. Adamyan in Russia developed a laparoscopy-assisted technique
for colpopoesis (creation of the neovagina), using the pelvic
peritoneum. This minimally invasive technique is far easier on the
patient, as it involves only tiny incisions and is performed in less
than an hour.
More than one thousand
procedures forming a neovagina with pelvic peritoneum have been
performed, proving their efficacy.
The procedure allows achievement
of adequate functional vaginal length and elasticity, and the peritoneal
epithelium (cellular layer that lines the walls of the abdominal cavity)
converts into normal vaginal epithelium within three months after
World-renowned head of the
Center for Women’s Care & Reproductive Surgery, Thomas L. Lyons, M.D.,
and his associate, Assia A. Stepanian, M.D., learned the technique
firsthand from its author, and they are the first U.S. surgeons with
experience in laparoscopic correction of MRKH syndrome using the pelvic
“It’s unfortunate that many
women have suboptimal procedures before they find us, because the other
procedures often fail,” said Dr. Lyons about the old style MacIndoe
split thickness skin graft.
“Most academic centers still use
the old way, which involves stretching skin over a glass tube stent and
a great deal of ‘hope’ that the tissue will re-vascularize (grow new
blood vessels) and stay healthy,” he said.
Solution Over the Internet = Grateful
After her mother discovered Dr.
Lyons over the Internet, the patient said, “Dr.
Lyons was very straightforward with his information and after six years
of wondering what was wrong with me I finally had answers.The surgery went smoothly and I
now have some normalcy in my life. For the most part I am just like
every other 22-year-old girl. I still cannot have children but I know
that adoption is always an option. Dr. Lyons helped restore me
physically as well as emotionally. He will always hold a special place
in my heart because he did what no one else could.”
Dr. Lyons’ advanced skills in
laparoscopy and/or hysteroscopy can correct a wide spectrum of
gynecological disorders. These include many in-office treatments for
pelvic pain, fibroids, abnormal bleeding and endometriosis.
After researching the Internet
and discovering the Center for Women’s Care at
http://www.thomasllyons.com, patients come to Dr. Lyons from around
the world for advanced laparoscopic techniques.
Contact Dr. Lyons toll-free at
888-545-0400 or in Atlanta metro area at 770-352-0037. Offices are also
in Lake Oconee and Blue Ridge, Georgia.