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Transvaginal neobladder vaginal fistula repair after radical cystectomy with orthotopic urinary diversion in women.

AIM: We present the surgical management and outcomes of patients who underwent transvaginal neo-bladder vaginal fistula (NBVF) repair at our institution.

METHODS: Between 2002 and 2012, eight patients underwent transvaginal NBVF repair. The surgical management entailed placing a Foley catheter into the fistula tract. A circumferential incision was made around the fistula tract after which a plane between the serosa of the neobladder and the vaginal epithelium was created. Interrupted polyglycolic acid sutures were used to close the fistula. An additional layer of vaginal wall, Martius, or omental flap was interposed before vaginal wall closure. A urethral catheter was placed for a minimum of 14 days and removed after a negative cystogram and pelvic exam with retrograde neobladder filling without leakage.

RESULTS: All patients presented with a fistula following radical cystectomy with orthotopic ileal neobladder. Two patients had failed two prior transvaginal fistula repairs. A unilateral Martius flap was used in five patients and an omental flap was used in one patient. The surgery was successful in all patients. After a mean follow up of 33 months [4-117], five patients underwent or are waiting to undergo management of stress urinary incontinence with bulking agents. No patient had a recurrent fistula.

CONCLUSIONS: Management of NBVF is challenging but cure is possible using a transvaginal approach. Most patients will suffer from incontinence after the repair because of a short and incompetent urethra. Patients should be counseled about the high probability of requiring a secondary procedure to achieve continence.

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