ENGLISH ABSTRACT
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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[Vesicovaginal fistula. Incidence, etiology and phenomenology in Germany].

BACKGROUND: Vesicovaginal fistulae are much more common in developing countries along the equatorial fistula belt than in industrialized countries. However, although the classical obstetric fistula caused by lack of medical support through pregnancy and delivery in adolescent primiparae has almost vanished in Germany, we are now facing new and predominantly iatrogenic variants. Increasing frequency of gynecological surgery as well as pelvic radiation, forgotten vaginal foreign bodies, or uninhibited cancer growth are the modern causes for vesicovaginal fistula in elderly patients. Comorbidities and genital atrophy impair surgical therapy in view of a limited success rate of conservative transient transurethral catheterization.

METHODS: Diagnostics should start early and should be initially limited to vaginal inspection, cystourethroscopy, and the blue dye test. Radiological investigations including CT and MRI are only indicated in patients suspicious for ureterovaginal fistula or with inconclusive findings or malignant fistula. The surgical armamentarium comprises vaginal, abdominal, and combined approaches, which all underlie basic principles of fistula repair: protection of the ureteral orifices, complete excision of the fistula canal, accurate separation of the organs connected to the fistula, sufficient tissue mobilization for tension-free suturing, interposition of padding material for prevention of recurrency.

CONCLUSION: Depending on the degree of sphincter damage, stress urinary incontinence might persist despite successful fistula repair, requiring further incontinence surgery or ultimate urinary diversion in recurrent cases that are hopeless.

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