Atrium Health Navicent Women's Care Urogynecology & Pelvic Surgery

Anterior colporrhaphy

What is an anterior colporrhaphy?

Young woman laughing Anterior colporrhaphy is a procedure commonly performed to correct a cystocele or "dropped bladder." While it can be performed alone, it is often combined with additional prolapse procedures in order to correct all the areas of prolapse in the vagina.

A cystocele occurs when the fibromuscular layer or support for the bladder is weakened from heavy lifting, vaginal delivery, age, or diseases that affect the connective tissue. When a cystocele forms, women can feel pressure or bulge symptoms in their vagina, and occasionally it can also affect the way the bladder empties.

How is the procedure performed?

Anterior colporrhaphy is performed through the vagina by making an incision in the anterior wall of the vagina in order to identify the weaknesses in the fibromuscular layer. When those weaknesses are identified, sutures are placed to strengthen the fibromuscular layer of the vagina that supports the bladder. Excess vaginal skin can be removed and then incision is closed with absorbable sutures.

What to Expect?

Young woman with a beautiful smileAfter initial consultation with Dr. Kow, you may be asked to undergo some bladder testing (urodynamics) prior to surgery. Prior to surgery, you will need to attend a preoperative visit with Dr. Kow and draw some basic lab work. Should you need surgical clearance, you will be asked to obtain this prior to surgery.

The surgical procedure takes approximately 30 minutes to perform. If performed by itself, it is an outpatient procedure and does not require an overnight stay. However, it is often performed with other types of prolapse surgeries to address all the areas of prolapse. If it is performed with other procedures, you may require an overnight stay and be discharged the following day.

What is my recovery time?

Overall recovery time includes six weeks with some activity restrictions, however patients are often able to return to a normal routine shortly after surgery. Restrictions including the following:

  • No heavy lifting of more than 10 lbs for 6 weeks
  • No tub baths for 6 weeks
  • No sexual intercourse for 6 weeks
  • No driving while on narcotic pain medications

What are the risks of the procedure?

Complications from an anterior colporrhaphy are typically very low. However with every procedure there always some risks including anesthesia problems, postoperative pain, intraoperative bleeding, infection, blood clots and damage to adjacent organs. With regards to an anterior colporrhaphy, some specific risks include the following:

  • 5-10% risk of postoperative urinary tract infection
  • 0.5% risk of ureteral kinking

Will my insurance company cover the procedure?

Most insurance policies will cover anterior colporrhaphy. Our office will help you with obtaining prior authorization if your insurance policy requires it. If you have further questions, contact your insurance carrier to determine the details regarding your coverage.