A vesico-vaginal fistula is an abnormal connection between the urinary tract and the vagina. The repair will separate the organs.
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This type of fistula can cause uncontrolled urine leakage through the vagina. It can also be painful and increase the risk of infections. Surgery will close the fistula to stop symptoms.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review possible problems such as:
The risk of problems may be higher in those who:
The risk of problems with a fistula repair may also be higher with:
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to 1 week before the procedure.
Other things to keep in mind prior to the procedure:
General anesthesia will keep you asleep during the procedure.
The surgery can be done through the vagina or through an incision in the belly. A scope may also be passed through the urethra into the bladder.
A small tube will be inserted into the urethra. A speculum will also be used to open the vagina. The doctor will locate the fistula. The walls of fistula will be cut away. The area will then be closed with sutures. Special dressings may be placed in the vagina.
A small incision will be made in the lower belly. The doctor will locate the fistula. The fistula lining will be cut and removed. The tissue will be moved to disconnect the urinary tract and vagina. The vaginal wall and wall of the urinary tract will then be closed. The wall of the belly will be closed.
A tube may be in the urethra to drain the bladder. It will be moved some time after you wake up.
1 to 3 hours or longer if the surgery is more complicated
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medicines.
This procedure is done in a hospital setting. The usual length of stay is:
After the procedure, the hospital staff may do the following:
Some activity will need to be avoided until the area has healed.
It is important for you to monitor your recovery after you leave the hospital. Alert your doctor to any problems right away. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Jatoi N, Jatoi N, Shaikh F, Ssirichand P. Key to successful vesico-vaginal fistula repair: an experience of urogenital fistula surgeries and outcome at gynecological surgical camp 2005. Ayub Medical College website. Available at: http://www.ayubmed.edu.pk/JAMC/PAST/20-2/Nasreen.pdf
Rizvi S, Gupta R, Patel S, Trevidi A, Trevidi P, Modi P. Modified laparoscopic abdominal vesico-vaginal fistula repair. J Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surg. 2010;20(1):13-15.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Chelsea Skucek, MSN, BS, RNC-NIC