Clinical Hub,Patient Education,Health and Nutrition Facts For You,Digestive Health Center (DHC)

Rectovaginal Fistula Repair (7122)

Rectovaginal Fistula Repair (7122) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Digestive Health Center (DHC)


Fistula Repairs of the Vagina

Fistulas of the vagina are abnormal
connections between the vagina and another
 Rectum (recto)
 Ileal pouch (pouch)
 Colon (colo)
 Small bowel (entero)
 Anal canal (ano)

Causes of fistulas:
 Injury during childbirth
 Bowel disease
 X-ray treatments
 Cancer
 Infection
 Prior colorectal surgery

You may have gas or stool coming through
the vagina. Based on location, the repair
may be done through the abdomen, vagina,
or rectum. In a rectal approach repair, rectal
tissue and /or muscle are moved to cover the
fistula opening. If you have an anal-muscle
defect, this may also be repaired. Repair of
a complex fistula may need a short-term
ostomy to help it heal. We will explain to
you how your fistula will be closed.

Risks of a repair may include:
 Infection
 Bleeding (rare)
 Breakdown of the stitches and nearby

If there is a problem with the anal muscles
or nerves, you may need these tests:
 Anal ultrasound allows the doctor to see
the muscles and look for problems.
 Manometry measures resting and the
amount of squeeze in the anal canal.
 Nerve tests check how the nerve and
muscles work together.
 Barium enema helps find the fistula
 Exam with a scope of the large bowel
and anal canal helps to find the fistula.
 If you need a bowel prep before a test,
we will review this with you.

Getting Ready for Surgery
You will have to do a bowel prep before
your surgery. You will get instructions to
follow for the bowel prep.

After hours, weekends and holidays ask for
the doctor on call for Dr.
_____________________. Tell them your

After Surgery
You may have bloody drainage from the
vagina. Wear a pad to manage and check
the output. Foul smelling drainage or
soaking a pad with blood is not normal. If
you have a short-term ostomy to help you
heal, we will teach you how to take care of

It is normal to have pain or pressure in the
area of repair. You will have pain pills to
take for pain.

 Avoid all tobacco, including second
hand smoke.
 It is okay to shower.
 Take your temperature at the same
time each day until your follow-up
 Walk every day. Nothing more
strenuous than walking until okayed
by your doctor.
 You doctor will tell you when it is
safe to have sex.

 Do not lift more than 10 pounds until
okayed by your doctor.
 Do not drive while taking narcotic
pain pills.

You will be on a full liquid diet the first few
days. Then you can increase the foods in
your diet as you are able. Plan to eat a low
fiber diet for 2 weeks after you go home. To
avoid constipation you may take a stool
softener. Expect to have loose stools while
on the low fiber diet.

When to Call the Doctor
 Excess swelling
 Excess bleeding
 Foul smelling drainage
 Pain not controlled with pain pills
 Problems with bowel movements
 Problems passing urine
 Temperature greater than 100.4 θF by
mouth for two readings taken 4 hours
 Any other symptoms that concern you

Phone Numbers
Digestive Health Center: (608) 890-5000.

After hours, weekends or holidays ask for
the doctor on call for_________________.
Leave your name and phone number with
area code. We will call you back.

Toll Free: (855) 342-9900.

Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 11/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7122