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Failed Fistula Repair

From the Pelvic Floor Articles List

Fistula repair that failsWhat if my fistula repair doesn’t work?

Fistula repairs are successful about 75% of the time. Unfortunately, that means that one in four repairs are unsuccessful. If your fistula repair is unsuccessful, you will need another surgery to try again.

A fistula is an abnormal opening between organs that usually occurs during healing after surgery. Fistulas can be large or small and allow leakage between organs and cause infections. Repairing one may require just a few stitches or the use of mesh to reinforce the weak wall between organs.

In the case of a failed fistula repair, your surgeon may decide to try a different approach than he or she used the first time. For example, using stitches that dissolve more quickly or removing a catheter sooner to prevent bladder spasms. Some failed repairs require the surgeon to perform open abdominal surgery, with a rather large incision, to properly fix the fistula.

Finding after a major surgery that a fistula has occurred and requires a second surgery to repair it can be extremely difficult for many women to handle emotionally. Needing a third surgery to correct a failed fistula repair is often devastating. It is normal to find yourself at your wit’s end in such circumstances. HysterSisters in this situation say they cry constantly from the frustration of having to do it all over again, the fear that it will fail again, and the constant leaking while they wait for the next surgery. Seek support at HysterSisters or elsewhere and know that you are not alone. Your second repair has a strong chance of working, and life will eventually go back to normal.

If you are concerned that your first surgeon was not experienced or skilled enough to successfully perform your second repair, seek a second opinion. Research surgeons’ experience and success rates and get referrals from other patients to reassure yourself that the surgeon you choose will have the very best chance of success with your second repair.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

08-21-2011 - 09:48 PM


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