Vaginal Repairs (Anterior and Posterior)

When the muscles and ligaments in your vagina weaken, the organs they support (including your bladder, bowel or uterus) may push forward or prolapse.

Vaginal prolapse is very common in women who have had a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). This is because the uterus supports the top of your vagina. Other causes include childbirth and hormonal changes in menopause. If your vaginal prolapse does not respond to non-invasive treatment, your consultant may recommend vaginal repair.

What happens?

A vaginal repair is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes around half an hour.

Your gynaecologist will make a cut in the wall of your vagina so they can push your bladder or bowel back into place. They will then use stitches to tighten the support tissues along the length of your vagina. Your gynaecologist will need to cut away a small part of the vaginal wall so they can remove excess tissue. If the muscles on either side of the entrance to your vagina are weak, your gynaecologist will use stitches to tighten them.
Vaginal repair surgery usually requires a hospital stay of one to two days, depending on the type of surgery you have and how well you recover. It usually takes about six weeks to make a full recovery from vaginal repair surgery, but this varies between individuals, so it’s important to follow your surgeon’s advice.

Are there any risks?

As with all surgery, there is a small risk of complications such as:

• Pain
• Bleeding
• Infection
• Blood clots (deep-vein thrombosis)

Specific complications of vaginal repair may include

• Problems passing urine – this usually improves without further treatment
• Damage to the bladder, uterus or bowel
• Recurrence of symptoms

Ask your surgeon to explain in more detail how any risks apply to you.