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Posterior repair

4-minute read

This page will give you information about a posterior repair. If you have any questions, ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What is a posterior prolapse?

A posterior prolapse is a bulge in the back wall of your vagina. It is caused by weakness of the support tissues between your vagina and your bowel.

What are the benefits of surgery?

A posterior prolapse can cause the following problems.

  • A sensation of ‘something coming down’.
  • A bulge in your vagina, which can cause discomfort when having sex and difficulty keeping a tampon in.
  • The feeling of not having fully emptied your bowel.
  • The need to press on the back wall of your vagina to fully empty your bowel.

The aim is to tighten the support tissues between your vagina and bowel, and remove any bulge in your vagina.

Illustration showing a normal vagina and one with a posterior prolapse.
a A normal vagina
b A posterior prolapse

Are there any alternatives to a posterior repair?

If you have only a mild prolapse, your doctor will usually recommend that you have a posterior repair only after you have tried simple treatments.

  • pelvic-floor exercises
  • treating any constipation

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but various anaesthetic techniques are possible. The operation usually takes about 30 minutes.

Your doctor may examine your vagina. They will make a cut on the back (posterior) wall of your vagina so they can push your bowel back into place.They will use stitches to tighten the support tissues along the length of the back wall of your vagina. Your doctor will need to cut away a small part of your vaginal wall so they can remove excess tissue.

What complications can happen?

Some of these can be serious and can even cause death.

General complications of any operation

  • pain
  • feeling or being sick
  • infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • unsightly scarring of the skin
  • bleeding
  • blood clot in your leg
  • blood clot in your lung

Specific complications of this operation

  • damage to your bowel and surrounding structures
  • difficulty opening your bowels
  • developing a collection of blood (haematoma) between your vagina and your bowel
  • difficulty having sex

How soon will I recover?

You will be able to go home when your doctor decides you are medically fit enough, which is usually after 1 to 3 days.

Rest for 2 weeks and continue to do the exercises that you were shown in hospital.

Do not have sex for 6 weeks or at least until any bleeding or discharge has stopped.

Do not stand for too long or lift anything heavy. You can return to work once your doctor has said you are well enough to do so (usually after 6 to 8 weeks). You should be feeling more or less back to normal after 3 months.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Continue your pelvic-floor exercises as soon as possible and keep doing them for life.

Summary

A posterior repair is a major operation usually recommended after simpler treatments have failed. Your bowel should be better supported and you should no longer have a bulge in your vagina.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION
The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Healthdirect Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

For more on how this information was prepared, click here.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2019


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