What is genitourinary fistula repair?

Genitourinary fistula repair is surgical procedure used to treat both rectovaginal and vesicovaginal fistulae in women. A rectovaginal fistula is an abnormal connection between the rectum and the vagina. When this abnormal connection occurs, bowel contents can leak through the fistula, allowing gas and stool to pass through the vagina. This condition may be caused by an injury during childbirth, radiation treatments, cancer in the pelvic area, Crohn’s disease or other inflammatory bowel diseases and complications following surgery to the pelvic area.

A vesicovaginal fistula is an abnormal connection between the vagina and bladder. It causes continuous loss of urine through the vagina. Vesicovaginal fistulas are often a complication after surgery to the pelvic region. They are also linked to gynecological cancer, either resulting from the disease or its radiation treatments. Using surgery, Dr. Shelby Morrisroe can repair either fistula.

What can I expect from this surgery?

Surgery is performed when the skin and tissue surrounding the fistula are healthy. Although it is rare, some fistulas will close on their own. During surgery, the goal is to remove the fistula tract and close the opening by sewing together healthy tissue. Depending on the state of your fistula, Dr. Morrisroe will use one of these surgical options:

  • Sewing a plug or patch of biologic tissue into the fistula. This will allow your tissue to grow into the patch and heal the fistula.
  • Using tissue grafts taken from nearby areas or folding a flap of healthy tissue over the fistula opening.
  • Repairing the muscles (the anal sphincter or vaginal muscles) that have been damaged by the fistula or by tissue damage from radiation or Crohn’s disease.

Schedule a consultation in Southern California

Vesicovaginal and rectovaginal fistulae requires extensive evaluation to plan the surgical approach. Dr. Morrisroe is experienced and trained to repair both rectovaginal and vesicovaginal fistulae. To get started with an evaluation in Torrance, California, give us a call at (310) 542-0199 or request a consultation online.

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