Atlanta MRKHMA

A worldwide organization exploring minimally invasive techniques for the treatment of müllerian anomalies.


MRKH & MÜLLERIAN ANOMALIES

No two babies are born alike.

Genetics and environment have given us so many differences at birth that even identical twins are not completely genetically identical. *

Obvious differences between people can be seen in color – of skin, eyes, hair – or in height, weight, build, physical features, and so on.

Some differences, however, can be more serious, causing an inability to function normally. Müllerian anomalies are such differences involving a female’s reproductive organs.

In most females, reproductive organs form successfully before birth. The uterus, fallopian tubes and upper vagina are made up of two partially fused tubes, called müllerian ducts, named for a physiologist who first described them in 1830 named Johannes Peter Müller. These ducts form in both male and female embryos.

In most female embryos, these ducts descend and combine to form two conjoined tubes each with loose ends, known as the uterovaginal primordium. The two tubes normally merge to form one uterus, cervix, and upper vagina, while the loose ends develop into the fallopian tubes. In adulthood, these organs are referred to as the müllerian tract. Congenital malformations of this tract are called müllerian anomalies.

Dr. Stepanian presenting on the subject at the European Society of Gynecologic EndoscopistsDr. Stepanian presenting on the subject at the European Society of Gynecologic Endoscopists

MRKH, or Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome, is a müllerian anomaly that occurs when the channels that normally form the fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, and the upper two-thirds of the vagina do not form. This condition results in vaginal agenesis, the absence of a vagina. It is estimated that one out of every four thousand to ten thousand women are affected by MRKH syndrome.

Müllerian anomalies can result in an inability to conceive or bear children, excessive pain during intercourse, ovulation and/or menstruation, pain during urination, bowel pain, an inability to achieve sexual intimacy, and other problems.

The very good news is that medical science has found ways to treat many of these anomalies sufficiently to reduce any pain involved, to correct abnormal formations, and to allow affected women to either bear children, or – since the ovaries usually develop normally in even the most serious cases – to have their own children through surrogate pregnancy.

Dr. Stepanian's mother, Dr. Leila Adamyan.Dr. Stepanian’s mother, Dr. Leila Adamyan.

What’s more, women who suffer with MRKH syndrome can take advantage of a surgical technique developed in Moscow by Dr. Leila Adamyan and brought to the United States by her daughter, Dr. Assia Stepanian, that actually results in the immediate formation of a normal-sized “neovagina,” making complete sexual intimacy possible.

Moscow TeamOur remarkable team of surgeons and researchers in Moscow.

Dr. Assia Stepanian has devoted much of her career to enriching the lives of women affected by müllerian anomalies. She co-authored “Classification of Female Genital Malformations,” and, together with the remarkable team of surgeons and researchers in Moscow, coauthors articles, “Reproductive function of women with genital anomalies” and “Systematization and clinico-morphological classification of female genital malformations” accepted by the International Federation of Gynecologists and Obstetricians. In 2011, as a Visiting Professor at Cornell University, she gave a lecture series entitled, “Endoscopic Treatment of MRKH and Müllerian Anomalies.” She was invited to demonstrate this surgery in direct transmission at AAGL’s 40th Anniversary Meeting. As a member of the Board of Trustees and the Advisory Board of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparascopists, Dr. Stepanian’s devotion to developments in MIGS is trusted throughout the world.

Assia StepanianDr. Stepanian presenting at The V.I.Kulakov Federal Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Perinatology of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of Russia

Most important, Dr. Stepanian’s holistic approach enables her to concentrate not only on surgery and on very well established protocols, but on seeing a young woman in her entirety. After treating women, young and more mature, with associated conditions and without them, with different personal and family backgrounds, Dr. Stepanian understands their concerns, their feelings of despair, anger, and embarrassment, and is uniquely qualified to counsel patients with warmth, understanding, and optimism. She is dedicated to enriching and expanding their lives by enabling them to experience a level of health and intimacy that they may never have thought possible.

Dr. Stepanian currently practices in Atlanta at her Academia of Women’s Health & Endoscopic Surgery at the Mount Vernon Medical Center, 755 Mount Vernon Highway, Atlanta, Georgia 30328.

*These findings were published February 14, 2008, in the American Journal of Human Genetics.


Ruscenter

The V.I.Kulakov Federal Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Perinatology
of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of Russia