Cystocele and rectocele repair is surgery to lift and tighten the tissue around the bladder and rectum so that these organs no longer push into the vagina.
When is it used?
A cystocele happens when the bladder pushes against weakened tissue in the vagina and drops down into the vagina. A rectocele happens when the rectum bulges into the vagina. These problems can cause discomfort, leaking of urine or bowel movements, bladder infections, constipation, and pain during sex. Surgery may be done to relieve these symptoms. After the surgery you should be able to urinate normally again and you should have better bowel control. You may be able to go back to your usual activities without leaking urine. Bulging and feelings of pressure in the vagina will be relieved. Sex should be more comfortable.
You may choose not to have treatment. Ask your healthcare provider about your choices for treatment and the risks.
How do I prepare for this procedure?
Make plans for your care and recovery after you have the procedure. Find someone to give you a ride home after the procedure. Allow for time to rest and try to find other people to help with your day-to-day tasks while you recover.
Follow your provider’s instructions about not smoking before and after the procedure. Smokers may have more breathing problems during the procedure and heal more slowly. It is best to quit 6 to 8 weeks before surgery.
Some medicines (like aspirin) may increase your risk of bleeding during or after the procedure. Ask your healthcare provider if you need to avoid taking any medicine or supplements before the procedure.
You may or may not need to take your regular medicines the day of the procedure, depending on what they are and when you need to take them. Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines and supplements that you take.
Your provider will tell you when to stop eating and drinking before the procedure. This helps to keep you from vomiting during the procedure.
Your provider may ask you to take an enema or medicine to clean out your bowel before surgery.
Follow any other instructions your healthcare provider gives you.
Ask any questions you have before the procedure. You should understand what your healthcare provider is going to do.
What happens during the procedure?
The surgery will be done at the hospital.
You will be given a regional or general anesthetic to keep you from feeling pain. Regional anesthesia numbs part of your body while you stay awake. If you have regional anesthesia, you may also be given medicine to help you relax. General anesthesia relaxes your muscles and you will be asleep.
Your healthcare provider will make incisions (cuts) in the wall of the vagina. Your provider will create support for the bladder and rectum by sewing folds of tissue around them. Stretched or extra tissue may be removed.
If leaking urine has been a problem, your provider may use a graft (piece of synthetic mesh or natural material) to cradle and lift the urethra and bladder. This is called an elevation or suspension procedure.
The cuts in the vagina will then be sewn closed.
Your provider may put a catheter (tube) into your bladder to drain urine. The catheter may pass through the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body), or your provider may insert it into the bladder through a cut in the wall of your lower belly. This will help you pass urine while you are recovering. It will also decrease pressure inside your bladder.
What happens after the procedure?
You may stay in the hospital 2 to 4 days.
You may need to go home with a catheter in your bladder until the bladder is working normally again. Your healthcare provider will decide when the catheter can be removed during a follow-up visit.
Constipation is common after surgery because of some medicines and inactivity. Eating fruits and vegetables and drinking extra fluids may help you avoid constipation. If diet and extra fluids are not enough to avoid constipation, your provider may recommend a stool softener or a laxative. Check with your healthcare provider if constipation keeps being a problem.
You may have some bloody or pink drainage from your vagina for a few weeks.
Ask your healthcare provider:
How long it will take to recover
What activities you should avoid, including how much you can lift, and when you can return to your normal activities
How to take care of yourself at home
What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them
Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.
What are the risks of this procedure?
Your healthcare provider will explain the procedure and any risks. Some possible risks include:
Anesthesia has some risks. Discuss these risks with your healthcare provider.
You may have infection, bleeding, or blood clots.
The bladder, rectum, ureters (the tubes from the kidneys to the bladder), or urethra may be damaged. If damage occurs and your provider is aware of it, he or she will try to repair it during the operation.
You may keep leaking urine or bowel movements.
You may have a constant feeling that you need to urinate.
You may have problems urinating.
The cystocele or rectocele may come back.
Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to you. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.
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Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth. Last modified: 2013-08-08 Last reviewed: 2014-07-03
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Cystocele and Rectocele Repair: References
ACOG Practice Bulletin: Pelvic Organ Prolapse, Number 85, September 2007. Reaffirmed 2013.
ACOG Practice Bulletin: Urinary Incontinence in Women, Number 63, June 2005. Reaffirmed 2013.
Lentz,G., R. Lobo, D. Gershenson, V. Katz. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Mosby Elsevier, 2012.
Schorge, J., et al. Williams Gynecology. 2nd ed. The Mcgraw Hill Companies, Inc. 2012.