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Vaginal repair of nonradiogenic urogenital fistulas


Introduction and hypothesis

In developed countries urogenital fistulas are rare and usually a complication of surgery or radiation therapy. Surgical repair can be accomplished transvaginally or by laparotomy, laparoscopy, robotic-assisted laparoscopy, or transurethral endoscopy. Closure can be achieved with or without tissue interposition. The vaginal approach is the least invasive and a variety of techniques with or without tissue interpositions and flaps have been described. This study reviews surgical approaches and techniques for the repair of nonradiogenic urogenital fistulas.


We identified and reviewed records from all patients treated for urogenital fistulas at our unit between 2008 and 2018. We analyzed fistula location, etiology, type and duration of corrective surgery, length of hospitalization, as well as complication and success rates.


Fifty patients (mean age 52 years) were identified. 49 fistulas were related to previous gynecological surgery, 3 were related to obstetric trauma. Thirty-four patients had vesicovaginal, 11 urethrovaginal, 3 ureterovaginal, and 2 neobladder–vaginal fistulas. Forty-eight patients (96%) were operated on using a vaginal approach; a modified Sims–Simon repair was used in 47 cases (94%). No flaps or tissue interpositions were used. In 48 patients (96%) successful closure was achieved with one operation; the modified Sims–Simon technique was successful in all 47 cases. The median operation time was 40 min (range, 20–100 min); the complication rate was 14%.


This series demonstrates the feasibility and advantages of vaginal repair of benign gynecological fistulas. The success rate was high and extensive procedures were avoided.

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The authors jointly planned and conducted the study and wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Claudia Mörgeli.

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Mörgeli, C., Tunn, R. Vaginal repair of nonradiogenic urogenital fistulas. Int Urogynecol J 32, 2449–2454 (2021).

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  • Urethrovaginal fistulas
  • Vaginal surgical approach
  • Vesicovaginal fistulas