On this page we try to answer the most frequently asked questions on the subject of neuropelveology. If you do not find the answer to your question here, please do not hesitate to contact us.
What is the cause of chronic pain in the lower abdomen?
Pain originates in the brain – nerves transmit a corresponding electrical signal. There can be a good reason for sending this signal, such as an injury or an inflammation. In this case the doctor knows what to do: he will treat the cause. Sometimes, however, nerves send signals because they are themselves in distress.
Which nerves meet in the pelvis?
There are three nerve centres in the human body: the brain, the spinal cord and the pelvis. In the pelvis, the nerves of the surrounding organs come together in the so-called sacral root. This network innervates the region between the legs and consists of the nerves of the bladder, rectum, prostate, womb and all organs relating to sexuality, as well as the nerves which control standing and walking. These nerves are protected and concealed behind the organs of the abdominal cavity. For this reason, hardly any medical discipline has concerned itself with their pathology until now.
What are the differences between specialist surgery to combat chronic pain in the area of the pelvis and conventional methods?
Gynaecologists are familiar with this territory and employ the instrument of laparoscopy as their tool in performing nerve-sparing keyhole surgery in this area. This enables them to identify the exact locations as well as the functions of these nerves in the lower abdomen. The wonderful thing about this site is that the nerves are clearly visible. For example, the four strands of the sciatic nerve join together here for the length of one centimetre. Above all – the nerve is accessible. Further down, it separates; further up, it disappears into the well-protected spinal canal, where it is very difficult to reach.
How did this specialist domain come into being?
Some patients continue to have pain even after undergoing procedures such as hysterectomy or prostate surgery. We followed this up to find out the cause. In most cases we discovered a suture or a scar pressing on one of the nerves in the pelvis. Sometimes we found cysts or small tumours which were pressing on these nerves. On other occasions we found nothing at all, and could only assume that the pains were so-called phantom pains, which continue to be felt because the nerves keep on sending out alarm signals. We treated these nerves with electrical signals and, lo and behold: the pains disappeared!
Who benefits from pelvic surgery?
Primarily, female patients with chronic pain in the lower abdomen. This affects about twelve per cent of women worldwide. The second group consists of patients who have had surgery in the lower abdomen but still continue to have pain. In addition to this, there are patients who experience phantom pain after the removal of an organ or the amputation of a limb.
How can paraplegic patients be helped?
The restoration of bladder, bowel and sexual functions is already possible today. Disorders such as multiple sclerosis, stroke or spina bifida, which also cause these problems, can benefit from this development. Further development and refinement of the electrodes will be necessary before paralysed patients are able to stand and walk. There is also still need of optimization as far as the software and various programmes of the muscular and motion processes are concerned. But help is already at hand for paralysed patients in the fight against spasticity of the legs or bladder.