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This page will provide you with information about an anterior repair. For further details, you should speak to your consultant.
An anterior prolapse is where your bladder drops down, causing a bulge in the wall of your vagina. It is the result of weaknesses in the support tissue between your bladder and vagina (see figure 1).
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When experiencing an anterior prolapse, you may get the sensation of ‘something coming down.’ You may also feel like you need to pass urine more regularly, and feel like the bladder isn’t fully emptied when you visit the toilet. An anterior prolapse is most often caused by childbirth, though it can occur in women who have never been pregnant. A prolapse can cause notable discomfort when having sex and make it difficult for women to keep tampons in. It is possible for women to experience multiple prolapses at any one time, for instance, a prolapse of the support tissues in the womb or the back passage.
The aim of this procedure is to tighten the bladder’s support tissue in order to remove the vagina bulge.
If you have experienced a minor prolapse, your doctor may first recommend simple treatments such as pelvic-floor exercises or inserting a pessary into your vagina. If these prove ineffective, they are likely to suggest an anterior repair. Another surgical procedure involves using mesh to replace the support tissues.
An anterior repair is typically carried out under general anaesthetic and takes approximately half an hour. During the procedure, your doctor will make a small cut on the front wall of your vagina to enable them to push your bladder and urethra back into their correct position. To help support your bladder and urethra they will then stitch the support tissues together. A small part of your vagina wall will be cut away in order to remove any leftover tissue.
Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.
After your operation, it is normal to experience some bleeding and discharge from your vagina; however, you should notify your doctor if it becomes heavy. The majority of patients are discharged after 2-3 days after their operation. You should rest for at least two weeks, whilst carrying out any exercises that have been recommended to you by your doctor. You should refrain from having sex for at least 6 weeks, or until the bleeding and discharge has stopped completely. During recovery, you must not stand for long periods of time or attempt to lift anything too heavy. Your doctor will tell you when you are well enough to return to work; this will generally be about 6-8 weeks after surgery. Regular exercise can help speed up the recovery process; however, you should seek advice from your consultant before you start. You should continue your pelvic-floor exercises as soon as you feel you can, and then continue doing them for life. These exercises will reduce the chance of your prolapse returning and will help to prevent you becoming incontinent in later life.
An anterior repair is a major procedure, typically recommended after other treatments have been tested and failed. The desired results from surgery are a bladder that is better supported, and no bulge in the vagina.
References: 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.