Education & Diagnosis
A vaginal fistula is an abnormal opening that connects your vagina to another organ, such as your bladder, colon or rectum. This can be described as a hole in your vagina that allows urine or stool to pass through your vagina. A Vesico-Vaginal Fistula is a subtype of female urogenital fistula, also called a bladder fistula, which consists of a hole between your vagina and urinary bladder. This hole allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault. Vaginal fistulas can develop as a result of an injury, an infection, radiation treatment, or most commonly following a gynecologic procedure. To restore normal bodily function, surgical repair is need to close the hole.
Your symptoms are the most clear signs of a vesico-vaginal fistula. Some common symptoms include vaginal fluid leakage, sore genital area and infection. Your doctor may test for this by performing a physical examination with the aid of a speculum, vaginal dye testing, a urinalysis, a blood test, or more advance imaging techniques.
Testing & Treatment
To restore normal bodily function, surgical Vesico-Vaginal fistula repairs can be performed to close or remove a fistula between your bladder and vagina. This surgery can be done both laparoscopically or robotic-assisted (less invasive, less pain, quicker recovery), under general anesthesia. Depending on the size and location of the fistula, many surgical procedures can be performed through the vagina, avoiding the need for a large incision in the abdomen. If abdominal surgery is required—usually because the patient's vaginal anatomy blocks access to the fistula, or because prior vaginal surgeries have failed—robotic-assisted surgery offers a greatly improved, minimally-invasive alternative.
For Robotic-Assisted Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Repairs, the surgery is performed through multiple abdominal incisions each measuring a few centimeters across. Through these tiny incisions, the surgeon uses robotic instruments to treat and close the fistula. Because the incisions are so small, robotic-assisted surgery for vesicovaginal fistulas offers a less pain, quicker recovery time and a shorter hospital stay when compared to conventional abdominal surgery.