Anterior vaginal wall repair is a surgical procedure used to correct a condition called vaginal prolapse. “Prolapse” means to slip out of place. In the case of a vaginal prolapse, your bladder or urethra slips down into your vagina. Your urethra is the tube that carries urine out of your body.
Anterior vaginal wall repair surgery tightens the front wall of your vagina. Tightening your muscles and soft tissues helps your bladder or urethra stay in its proper position.
In many cases of vaginal prolapse, you may not have symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they can include:
- pain during sexual intercourse
- a sense of fullness or discomfort in your vagina
- a sense of pulling or heaviness in your pelvic region
- a low backache that gets better when you lie down
- frequent urination
- stress incontinence
Speak with your doctor if you notice these symptoms. You may have vaginal prolapse. They may recommend anterior vaginal wall repair.
A number of factors contribute to the formation of vaginal prolapse. You’re more likely to develop a prolapse that requires anterior vaginal wall repair if you:
- are pregnant
- deliver a baby vaginally
- are overweight
- strain during bowel movements
- participate in heavy lifting
- have a chronic cough
You can prevent prolapse by:
- maintaining a healthy weight
- treating a chronic cough
- treating chronic constipation
- lifting properly by bending your knees
Most often, the benefits of anterior vaginal wall repair outweigh the risks. In some cases, you may experience the following after surgery:
- painful urination
- a frequent, sudden urge to urinate
- a leakage of urine
- damage to your urethra, vagina, or bladder
Discuss these risks with your doctor before having an anterior vaginal wall repair.
Your doctor will probably ask you to fast for at least eight hours before your surgery. You should also stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen several days before your surgery. This will reduce your risk of experiencing excessive bleeding. Ask your doctor about proper medication usage if you take warfarin or other blood-thinning medications.
Anterior vaginal wall repair is performed under general or spinal anesthetic. Under general anesthetic, you’re asleep and experience no pain. Under a spinal anesthetic, you’re numb below your waist and unable to feel pain, but you’re awake.
Your surgeon will make an incision in the front wall of your vagina. They’ll reposition your bladder or urethra to its normal location through the incision. Surgical stitches in the tissues between your vagina and bladder will help hold your organs in place. Your surgeon may also remove additional vaginal tissue. This can help tighten your muscles and ligaments effectively.
You’ll most likely remain in the hospital for several days after anterior vaginal wall repair. Your bladder may be affected by the surgery, and you may need to use a catheter for one to two days. A catheter is a small tube that’s placed in your bladder to remove urine from your body.
It’s common to be on a liquid diet after this surgery. Once you’re able to urinate and have normal bowel movements, you can resume a regular diet.
Anterior vaginal wall repair is highly successful in most cases. Many women who have surgery show long-term improvement of prolapse symptoms. If you experience complications after your surgery, speak to your doctor. Ask them about your treatment options and long-term outlook.