After childbirth and even as we age, the muscles of the vaginal wall can become weak and loose, which can lead to health complications. Vaginal repair is surgery to lift up and strengthen the walls of the vagina to restore its normal support. It is also known as colporrhaphy.
The vagina is made out of muscles, which can loosen and weaken over time because of childbirth, obesity and age. When this happens, sometimes you might have a prolapse - or dropping down - of your womb into your vagina. In some cases, you bladder and bowels can also prolapse.
Vaginal repair helps by tightening and fixing the muscle walls to correct the prolapse.
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Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.
You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
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Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
We understand that having surgery can potentially be a time of anxiety and worry. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you, holding your hand, every step of the way.
There are different ways to perform this procedure depending on the extent of the repair. Your surgeon will discuss the technique they will use.
The operation is performed under general anaesthetic, which means you will be asleep during the procedure. It usually lasts about an hour.
Usually, your surgeon will make a cut through your vaginal wall from the inside. The outside walls of your vagina are lifted up and attached to pelvic ligaments for support. The incision is then sewn up inside using dissolvable stitches, so you will not have any visible scars.
Occasionally, the operation is done through an incision made in the skin of the abdomen, just above the pubic hair line.
Your surgeon will put in a catheter (a tube) to drain urine from your bladder into a bag beside your bed. This is because most women have difficulty passing urine after this procedure.
You will need to stay in hospital for two or three days after the operation.
After this, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.
While you are in hospital a physiotherapist will visit you to run through exercises that you can do at home to help speed up your recovery.
You may need pain relief to help with any discomfort as the anaesthetic wears off, which we will provide for you while you're in hospital with us.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
You may experience temporary bladder problems because the bladder and the urethra (the tube that drains the bladder) are moved slightly during surgery. The catheter is usually taken out in the first day or two.
After the operation, a physiotherapist will visit you to run through exercises that you can do at home to help speed up your recovery.
Every person is different, but it typically takes six weeks to recover from this operation. During that time, don't engage in strenuous activity or have sex. A full recovery can take up to 12 weeks.
Once you’re ready to be discharged from hospital, you’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home as you won’t be able to drive for the first day or so. You need to follow your surgeon’s advice about driving. You shouldn’t drive until you are confident that you could perform an emergency stop without discomfort.
Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way. After a vaginal repair operation, we will provide you with all the appropriate medication, physiotherapy exercises, advice on what to do and not to do, and follow-up support.
Your surgeon will visit you before you go home to assess your progress and answer any questions that you have. Your nurse will give you a contact telephone number for the hospital and will arrange a follow-up appointment for you.
On rare occasions, complications following vaginal repair surgery can occur. Specific complications of vaginal repair are uncommon but can include damage to other organs and tissues in the abdomen, such as the bladder and bowel. These complications may need further treatment such as returning to theatre to stop bleeding, antibiotics to treat an infection, or further surgery to repair a damaged organ.
The chance of complications depends on the exact type of operation you are having and other factors such as your general health. We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you have any questions or concerns, we’re ready to help.
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The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
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