Transvaginal repair of vesicovaginal fistulas after hysterectomy by vaginal cuff excision.
PURPOSE: When repairing vesicovaginal fistulas after hysterectomy there is often reluctance to excise totally the fistula tract for fear of enlarging the tissue defect. It has been suggested that consequent tension on suture lines may cause recurrence of an even larger fistula. On the other hand, a basic surgical principle is that scar tissue margins will not heal as quickly or at all compared to fresh viable margins. We reviewed whether our technique of total excision of the fistula tract and vaginal cuff scar provides an efficient cure rate. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed the outcomes of 20 women who underwent vaginal cuff excision repairs of a vesicovaginal fistula after total hysterectomy. Women who had complex fistulas and/or prior radiation therapy were excluded from study. RESULTS: Of the 20 patients 3 (15%) sustained a bladder lesion that was repaired intraoperatively and 7 (35%) underwent 1 or more attempts at secondary repair. All fistulas were at the vaginal cuff. Mean fistula size was 0.7 cm. (11 women). All repairs were performed as soon as possible after presentation except 2 (10%) that were delayed because of the fistula appearance. The fistula tract was excised totally in all patients. All patients were cured. There were no postoperative complications and no significant or symptomatic vaginal shortening. CONCLUSIONS: Transvaginal vaginal cuff excision repair is an effective first attempt cure of vesicovaginal fistulas after hysterectomy. Excision of the fistula tract and vaginal cuff scar enables the surgeon to suture viable tissues in every layer, thereby providing conditions optimal for wound healing. This procedure obviates the need to wait for tissue readiness and to interpose a flap in the majority of patients.
Iselin, CE; Aslan, P; Webster, GD
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