Prolapse repair

Posterior prolapse

A posterior prolapse is a bulge in the back wall of the vagina caused by weakness of the support tissues between the vagina and the bowel. This can be improved by an operation to tighten these support tissues. Usually you will only notice this problem after menopause.

A posterior prolapse repair is usually performed under general anaesthetic and normally takes around thirty minutes.

Your gynaecologist will make a cut in the back wall of your vagina to push your bowel back into place. Stitches will be used to tighten the support tissues along the length of the back wall of your vagina and the upper back wall if necessary. Your gynaecologist will need to cut away a small part of your vaginal wall so they can remove any excess tissue.

Dissolvable stitches will be used and a pack (like a tampon) will be placed in your vagina. A catheter may be fitted to allow you to pass urine after the operation.

Anterior prolapse

An anterior prolapse is a bulge of the vagina caused by the bladder dropping down. It is caused by weakness of the support tissues between the vagina and the bladder. This can be improved by an operation to tighten these support tissues. Usually you will only notice this problem after menopause.

An anterior prolapse repair is usually performed under general anaesthetic and normally takes around thirty minutes.

Your gynaecologist will make a cut in the front wall of your vagina to push your bladder and urethra back into place. Stitches will be used to tighten the support tissues and provide better support for your bladder and urethra. Your gynaecologist will need to cut away a small part of your vaginal wall so they can remove any excess tissue.

Dissolvable stitches will be used and a pack (like a tampon) will be placed in your vagina. A catheter may be fitted to allow you to pass urine after the operation.

When will I recover?

You may be given fluids through a drip for the first 24 hours after your operation and you will probably feel some pain and discomfort which will be treated with painkillers.

The drip, the pack in your vagina and catheter (if one is fitted) will usually be removed the next day and you will start drinking and eating. You should expect a slight discharge or bleeding from your vagina and you will be recommended exercises to get you back to normal as soon as possible.

You will usually be released from hospital one to three days after the procedure.

For the first two weeks at home you should rest and continue to do the exercises that you were shown in hospital. You can usually go back to work after six to twelve weeks and after three months you should be feeling more or less back to normal.

What risks should I know about?

A prolapse repair is a routinely performed operation but nevertheless carries some small risks: 

- Difficulty opening your bowels if your bowel or back wall of your vagina becomes bruised or swollen
- Damage to internal organs - the bladder, ureters, bowel and blood vessels lie close to the womb and may be damaged during the operation - risk less than 2%
- Developing a haematoma - Normally small collections of blood inside the abdomen which can be treated with antibiotics
- Incontinence where urine leaks from the bladder which may need further treatment or surgery - risk less than 1%
- Urine infection which makes you want to pass urine more frequently. Most infections can be quickly treated by antibiotics
- Damage to the bladder which may mean a further operation

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