This page will provide you with information about anterior repair surgery. For further details, please speak to your consultant.
What is a prolapse?
A prolapse is a bulge in walls of your vagina. This can result in a weakening of the support tissues of the front (anterior) wall, between your vagina and bladder, or a weakening of the back (posterior) wall between your vagina and bowel (Figure 1).
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A prolapse can cause a dragging or aching sensation, along with discomfort.
With a prolapse of the anterior walls, you may be experiencing the need to pass urine more frequently and the feeling of not having fully emptied your bladder. It can also cause discomfort when having sex and lead to difficulty keeping a tampon in.
A weakening of the vaginal walls is usually caused by childbirth, but this is can also happen to women who have never given birth.
What are the benefits of an anterior repair?
The aim is to tighten the support tissues of your bladder and/or bowel remove any bulges in your vagina.
The surgery can also help treat stress incontinence and a feeling of bladder fullness.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
Repairing the vaginal walls is a major operation so should only be considered after simpler, alternative treatments have failed.
For example, if you have only a mild prolapse, your doctor will usually recommend treatments such as pelvic floor exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles or placing a pessary in your vagina (a soft plastic ring which pushes the prolapse back up into place).
What will happen during the operation?
Your surgeon will make a cut on the front or back wall or of your vagina. They will then be able to push your bladder or bowel back into its normal position, depending on the repair you need.
Your surgeon will then stitch the support tissues (fascia) between your vagina and bladder together in order to provide better support.
Your surgeon will need to cut away a small part of your vaginal wall to remove tissue left over from the repair.
The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic and takes approximately 30 minutes. The stitches the surgeon used will eventually dissolve and will not have to be removed.
Risks and complications
Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.
You should expect a slight discharge or bleeding from your vagina. Let the healthcare team know if this becomes heavy.
You will usually be able to go home after two to three days, but you should rest for two weeks and continue to do the exercises that you were shown in hospital. Light activity will be good for you but do not sit or stand for too long and avoid heavy lifting or physical strain.
Do not have sex for six weeks or until any bleeding or discharge has stopped.
You can return to work once your doctor has said you are well enough to do so (usually after six to eight weeks).
You should continue your pelvic floor exercises as soon as possible and continue doing them in the future. This will help to prevent the prolapse from coming back and reduce the risk of you becoming incontinent.
EIDO Healthcare Limited - The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.
The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.