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Colpopexy Overview

written by: Victoria Trix • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 10/26/2009

Colpopexy is a procedure using surgical stitching to replace a displaced vagina into the proper position against the abdominal wall in correct form. This procedure is also is known as vaginofixation.

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    Indications for Colpopexy

    This surgical procedure is used to help with prolapsed pelvic organs including the vagina, bladder and bowels as well as the uterus. These organs protrude down into the vagina and therefore cause weakness in the supporting tissues. Symptoms include bladder, bowel and sexual disorders as well as pain and the sensation of prolapse externally. Up to 50% of women are found to have need for the surgery after birth has been experienced at some point in life. Depending on the other organs that have caused the prolapse of the vagina, entrance for the surgery can vary. Other causes of conditions requiring this procedure include delivery of an above average sized infant and stress on the vaginal connective tissues.

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    Side Effects or Complications

    Complications of the colpopexy include high blood loss during surgery, narcotic use after operation for pain relief, small intestine grafts due to recurrent rectocele and general surgery problems. These include allergies or drug interactions with general anesthesia as well as heart complications from anesthesia. Entrance infections due to incisions, pain for weeks after surgery as well as bowel contractions are common for the first month after surgery. Side effects include the need for sexual abstinence for up to 3 months for complete healing to take place, mild pain during the first 6 weeks of healing time and pain management with medications. Excessive lifting is not recommended for up to 6 weeks.

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    Prognosis

    Many women who undergo the colpopexy surgical procedure see a prolapse again at some point, due to the natural positioning of the organs. When organs are not replaced during surgery due to there being no necessity, the vagina may become prolapsed again at some point due to the organs again falling onto the lateral walls. This is not to say that all women will again have a prolapsed vagina, as many women never have the procedure again due to its success when organs are replaced at the time of surgery, if this is the cause.

    Women who undergo the surgery have very little pain during recuperation periods, and these periods can last from a month to 6 weeks before heavy lifting is recommended. Stitches are always internal and dissolve on their own, therefore follow up procedures are generally not seen for this.

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    Resource

    MedicineNet.com from the publication Colpopexy Definition last updated 11/16/1999

    Medical-Dictionary.TheFreeDictionary.com from the publication Colpopexy