Sections

Urogynecology & Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery

The Section of Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery, under the leadership of Dr. Sandra Valaitis, treats patients with pelvic floor disorders (PFDs). These disorders, which includes problems such as pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence, are extremely common and affect approximately 24% of women during their lifetimes. The frequency of these problems increase as women get older, and can affect up to 50% of women aged 80 and over. It is anticipated that, as our population ages, more and more women will seek treatment for PFDs, which can be a source of great distress and can negatively impact a woman’s quality of life. Thankfully, many nonsurgical and minimally invasive surgical treatments are available to women who suffer from PFDs.

The mission of our Section is to provide high quality, personalized and compassionate patient-centered care to women from all backgrounds who suffer from PFDs.  Our clinical team consists of four faculty members: Dr. Dianne Glass, Dr. Shilpa IyerDr. Juraj Letko, and Dr. Sandra Valaitis; and one advanced practice nurse, Laura Fetzer, APN.

Our high-volume, board-certified urogynecologists are experts in providing the full spectrum of diagnostic and therapeutic options for evaluating and treating women who suffer from PFDs. We offer many office-based tests and treatments as well as minimally invasive surgical options for PFDs, including robotic surgery. Since 2008, our section has performed the greatest number of robotic sacral colpopexies in the Chicagoland area. Our urogynecology community outreach program serves patients in multiple convenient outpatient office locations, working closely with referring physicians to provide care for women with pelvic floor disorders in communities closer to their homes.

Our team has extensive experience with complex pelvic floor disorders, fistulae, and complications associated with vaginal mesh, including those which require the surgical removal of exposed and contracted mesh. We are able to use a multidisciplinary approach for complex cases, collaborating with colleagues from our Center for Pelvic Health, which includes faculty from the Sections of Urology and Colorectal Surgery. The University of Chicago Center for Pelvic Health is dedicated to helping patients overcome the physical, emotional and social issues surrounding pelvic floor disorders. We specialize in the evaluation and medical management of pelvic floor disorders, overactive bladder, constipation, fecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence, urinary tract infections, and hemorrhoids.

Our Section has established a comprehensive prospective database of diverse women with pelvic organ prolapse that is a rich resource for the scholarly investigation of a wide range of risk factors and treatments for prolapse. Our current research focuses on clinical outcome data, symptom bother, and racial differences in health care choices. With the support of our clinical research coordinator, we are able to carry out a productive scholarship in the context of our successful clinical practice.

Our faculty are active members of the American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS), Society of Urodynamics Female Pelvic Medicine and Urogenital Reconstruction (SUFU), and the International Urogynecological Association (IUGA). Our faculty members also play a vital role in the education of medical students, residents, fellows, and other faculty and have received awards and recognition for their teaching excellence. With our colleagues at NorthShore University Health System, we offer a highly competitive, ABOG-approved fellowship program in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery.

 

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Sandra Rasa Valaitis, MD

Chief, Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology