Use of a free bladder mucosal graft for simple repair of vesicovaginal fistulae

Michael Ostad, Robert G. Uzzo, John Coleman, George P.H. Young

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19 Scopus citations


The aim of this paper is to describe a simple, fast, and effective method for repair of difficult vesicovaginal fistulae by means of a free bladder mucosal graft. Six patients with high, large, multiple, or recurrent vesicovaginal fistulae were treated using a free bladder mucosal graft. Three patients underwent 'early' repair (less than 3 months from time of injury) and 3 'late' repair (more than 6 months from time of injury). Via a suprapubic cystotomy, the mucosa of the fistulous tract was debrided without any attempt to excise the tract or close the bladder or vaginal defects. A free bladder mucosal graft was harvested from an unaffected portion of the bladder and placed over the fistulous tract, and mucosal approximation was made using interrupted 5-0 chromic stay sutures. The donor urothelial defect was allowed to re-epithelialize. A Foley catheter, suprapubic tube, and vaginal packing were left in place. Five patients noted an immediate result, with no evidence of leakage, and the suprapubic tube was removed by week 3. One patient required prolonged catheter drainage, and the tube was successfully removed by week 6. This patient had undergone irradiation. All patients remain dry at follow-up, which ranges from 2 to 6 years. We describe a simple and effective method for transabdominal vesicovaginal fistula repair, involving minimal mobilization, decreased dissection, and no need for rotational or interposition flaps, obviating the need to open the peritoneum. A free bladder mucosal graft can be used regardless of the individual anatomy or proximity to the ureteral orifices, because it can easily be tailored. This technique represents an important repair of difficult, recurrent, or multiple vesicovaginal fistulae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-126
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1998
Externally publishedYes


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