Vaginal repair

Last updated on 12th September 2015

It is performed to repair the vaginal walls (front and / or back walls). It generally involves making a cut along the vaginal walls, allowing access to the prolapsing structures, either the bowel or bladder or both. The prolapsing structures are pushed back, and the surrounding tissues are reinforced and strengthened. Depending on the site of the prolapse, some of the muscles around the back wall of the vagina may also be tightened (a perineorraphy). The vagina is then closed with dissolvable stitches.

The operation may be combined with either a laparoscopic or vaginal hysterectomy (removal of the womb and cervix – see separate sheet). Occasionally the vaginal repair is also performed laparoscopically, most often if you are already having a laparoscopic operation. If you are suffering with urinary stress incontinence, the doctor may also perform additional surgery (see separate sheet)

What happens after the operation?

After the operation, you may experience nausea and wound pain. Medication will be given to relieve these symptoms. You will normally be allowed to drink and eat on the same day of operation.  The urinary catheter will normally be removed later on the following day. The nurse looking after you will make sure you are passing water without a problem and check there is not a large volume of urine left in the bladder after you have finished urinating. A small number of women will not adequately empty their bladders. They may have to go home with a catheter in and come back a week later for removal of the catheter. If a vaginal pack / bandage is used at the time of surgery, it is removed the following day.

There is likely to be some vaginal bleeding after surgery, and this may take a few days to settle down. You are likely to experience pain in the abdomen / pelvis that will require regular painkillers for up to a couple of weeks following surgery. Providing there are no problems you will be allowed home one-four days after surgery.

Are there any risks?

Vaginal repair is a safe and effective operation, but as with any surgical procedure there are risks. The risks common to all operations include anaesthetic risks, infection, bleeding, recurrence of symptoms, and formation of a blood clot in the legs/lungs. The main risks specific to a vaginal repair are:

What should I do after the operation?

You should be back on your feet quite quickly, but you avoid heavy lifting for 6 weeks. There may be some bleeding / brown vaginal discharge as the wounds in the vagina heal which is completely normal.

Sexual intercourse may be resumed after 6 weeks if you are feeling comfortable and the discharge has stopped. We generally suggest at least 4 weeks off work.

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