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Cystocele and Rectocele Repair

What is a cystocele and rectocele repair?

A cystocele and rectocele repair is an operation that lifts and tightens the tissue around the bladder and rectum so these organs no longer push against the vagina.  This procedure is also known as an Anterior and Posterior Repair.

When is it used?

Surgery is done to relieve bulging into the vagina that may be caused by a cystocele and rectocele. Surgery is usually used only after you have tried other treatments such as:

  • Doing muscle-strengthening exercises, called Kegel exercises.
  • Placing a pessary in the vagina. (A pessary is a device that can be put into the vagina to support the vaginal walls. A pessary does not help a rectocele problem, but it can help with a cystocele.)

Ask your health care provider about these other treatment choices before electing to have the procedure.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

The procedure should allow easy, effective, and complete urination and better bowel control. It should help you be more active. You might be able to resume your normal level of activity without leaking urine. Bulging and pressure sensations in the vagina will be relieved.

What are the risks associated with this procedure?

As with any procedure, there are risks. Be sure to discuss these risks with your physician prior to the procedure. Additionally, there are some risks when you have general anesthesia. Discuss these risks with your health care provider, and please inform your physician about any known allergic reaction as a result of general anesthetic. The regional anesthetic may not numb the area quite enough and you may feel some minor discomfort.

How do I prepare for a cystocele and rectocele repair?

Follow your physicians instructions about not smoking before and after the procedure. Smokers heal more slowly after surgery. They are also more likely to have breathing problems during surgery. For this reason, if you are a smoker, you should quit at least 2 weeks before the procedure. It is best to quit 6 to 8 weeks before surgery. Also, your wounds will heal much better if you do not smoke after surgery.

Follow any other instructions your provider gives you. If you are to have general anesthesia, eat a light meal, such as soup or salad, the night before midnight. Do not eat or drink after midnight.  Do not even drink coffee, tea, or water.

What happens after the procedure?

You may stay in the hospital about 1 to 2 days. The catheter may stay in your bladder 2 to 6 days or until your bladder is working again. During the first 4 weeks after the operation, you may have some small and sometimes bloody drainage from your vagina.


Create a plan for your care and recovery after the operation, and allow plenty of time to rest. Try to find other people to help you with your day-to-day duties.

After you leave the hospital, avoid all heavy activity such as lifting for the first 2 weeks. Then follow your provider’s recommendations for gradually increasing your activity. Ask what other steps you should take and schedule follow-up visits with your health care provider.

When should I call Greenville OB/GYN?

Call our emergency number at any time if:

  • You have a fever over 100 F (37.8 C).
  • You have heavy bleeding from your vagina.
  • The catheter becomes plugged and you stop passing urine.

Call during regular office hours if:

  • You have questions about the procedure or its result.