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BRIEF REPORT
Adv Biomed Res 2012,  1:77

Bladder mucosal autograft: An effective method for repair of vesicovaginal fistula


1 Department of Urology, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Sina Hospital, Tehran, Iran
2 Isfahan Urology and Kidney Transplantation Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Al-Zahra Hospital, Isfahan, Iran
3 Department of Urology, Private Practice, Iran

Date of Submission04-Apr-2012
Date of Acceptance09-May-2012
Date of Web Publication31-Oct-2012

Correspondence Address:
Farshid Alizadeh
No 22, 16th alley, Shams-Abadi St., Isfahan
Iran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2277-9175.102984

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  Abstract 

Background: to investigate the effectiveness of bladder mucosal autograft for the treatment of vesicovaginal fistulae.
Materials and Methods: Between March 2005 and June 2011, 21 patients with a single vesicovaginal fistula above the trigone, not involving the ureters, underwent surgery. Bladder was approached extraperitoneally and opened in the midline. The mucosa around the fistula was incised and inverting sutures were placed over the fistula opening. The mucosal defect was covered by a free mucosal graft from the edge of cystotomy incision.
Results: After catheter removal at 2 weeks, 18 patients (85 %) remained dry while one patient experienced urge incontinence, which resolved in a few days and another one still had urine leakage (although less than before the operation) that improved after another 3 weeks of bladder drainage. Only in one patient, the operation failed.
Conclusion : Short duration of hospitalization, simplicity of the procedure, avoidance of extensive bladder dissection, and extraperitoneal nature of the operation, along with a high success rate are the advantages of this procedure. This technique could be recommended for single fistulae not involving the ureters and not secondary to malignancies.

Keywords: Bladder mucosa, graft, vesicovaginal fistula


How to cite this article:
Mohseni MG, Hosseini SR, Alizadeh F, Gooran S, Valikhani N. Bladder mucosal autograft: An effective method for repair of vesicovaginal fistula. Adv Biomed Res 2012;1:77

How to cite this URL:
Mohseni MG, Hosseini SR, Alizadeh F, Gooran S, Valikhani N. Bladder mucosal autograft: An effective method for repair of vesicovaginal fistula. Adv Biomed Res [serial online] 2012 [cited 2020 Feb 23];1:77. Available from: http://www.advbiores.net/text.asp?2012/1/1/77/102984


  Introduction Top


The majority of vesicovaginal fistula in developed countries results from iatrogenic injury - the most common cause being hysterectomy. [1],[2],[3],[4] Other less common etiologies include radiation necrosis, obstetric trauma, local extension of malignancy, and pelvic trauma. [5],[6] In developing countries, prolonged obstructed labor remains the most common cause of vesicovaginal fistula. [7] The main treatment is a direct closure of the fistula. Surgical approaches used for vesicovaginal fistula include combined abdominal vaginal, vaginal, or abdominal approaches. The approach chosen is contingent on several factors, including location of fistula (position related to the apex), quality of tissues, and surgical experience. The abdominal approach is mostly used where there is a poorly visualized tract, a narrow or immobile vagina, and in whom there is close proximity to a ureteral orifice. This technique needs extensive dissection between the bladder and the vagina, hence increased post-operative morbidity.

Bladder mucosal autograft has been used with success in a few studies and needs less extensive dissection. We report our experience of bladder mucosal autograft in the treatment of vesicovaginal fistula as a simple and effective technique.


  Materials and Methods Top


Between March 2005 and June 2011, 21 patients with vesicovaginal fistula underwent surgery. The diagnosis was made according to patient's history (permanent wetting after gynecological surgery) and cystoscopy. If ureteral involvement was suspected (proximity of fistula to the ureteral orifice or hydronephrosis), an intravenous urography (IVU) and/or retrograde pyelography was performed. Patients were given prophylactic antibiotics (3 rd generation cephalosporins plus an aminoglycoside) and a vaginal douche with povidone iodine the evening before the operation to reduce the risk of post-operative infection. Post-menopausal women were also given oral conjugated estrogen, 1.25 mg daily during 2 weeks pre-and 4 weeks post-operatively, if no contraindication existed.

Cystoscopy and placement of bilateral ureteral catheters were performed just before the operation and skin was opened through a pfannenstiel incision. Only patients with a single fistula tract above the trigon were considered eligible for this technique and those with multiple fistulae and ureteral involvement were repaired by other techniques. Approach to the bladder was extraperitoneally. A small midline cystotomy was made and the mucosa around the fistula edge was incised with a circumferential distance of about 1 cm and fibrous tissues were removed. Continuous inverting sutures were placed along the fistula opening through the muscular layer, using 3-0 polyglactin sutures.

The free bladder mucosal graft was obtained from the edge of the cystotomy line. The mucosa was scored, using a No. 15 scalpel and Metzenbaum scissors were used to lift the mucosa off the underlying detrusor muscle. Chromic stay sutures (3-0) were used for traction as the graft was lifted upward to minimize blunt trauma of the graft by forceps. The graft size was some 40% larger than the removed mucosa around the fistula opening.

The free graft was placed over the fistula site, paying attention not to turn the graft over and secured in place with 6 to 8 interrupted 4-0 chromic catgut sutures. Sutures were placed through the adjacent mucosa and then the mucosal graft. No attempt was made to interpose omentum between the bladder and vagina such that the peritoneum was never entered. After ensuring adequate hemostasis, bladder mucosa around the graft site was closed using continuous 4-0 chromic catgut sutures. The bladder wall was then closed in two layers after placing a 16 Fr Foley catheter and a Penrose drain was also placed. We did not use cystostomy and the vaginal end of the fistula tract was left intact.

Ureteral stents were removed the next day and the drain after 3 days but the Foley catheter was kept in place for 2 weeks.

Patients were instructed to avoid intercourse for 1 month and oxybutynin (5 mg TID) was administered until 2 days before catheter removal.


  Results Top


The mean age was 57.3 ± 10.7 years (range: 42 to 69 years). All 21 patients had a history of hysterectomy (abdominal or vaginal) as the cause of the fistula formation. Only one patient had a history of failed surgery for fistula repair and none had a history of malignancy as the cause of hysterectomy.

In none of the patients, the fistula had involved the ureter and all fistulas were located outside the trigone. The mean (range) time from fistula formation to repair was 8 (2-10) months. The mean (range) fistula size was 1.7 (1-2) cm and the mean (range) operation time was 95 (80-125) minutes. Patients were hospitalized for a mean (range) of six (5-9) days after the operation and were discharged with Foley catheter.

After catheter removal at 2 weeks, 18 patients (85 %) remained dry while one patient experienced urge incontinence, which resolved in a few days and another one still had urine leakage (although less than before the operation) that improved after another 3 weeks of bladder drainage. Only in one patient, the operation failed. Patients were followed-up for a mean (range) of 8 (3-20) months.


  Discussion Top


The earliest experience for repair of vesicovaginal fistula was reported by O'Connor. [8] In this technique, bladder and vagina are mobilized and separated from each other by dissecting along the vesicovaginal septum. A complete excision of the fistula tract is completed; the separate closure of the vagina and bladder is performed using absorbable sutures. This technique is most expeditiously performed intraperitoneally. Other authors have found the omentum to be reproducibly present for interpositional uses. [9],[10] Nesrallah et al., described the O'Connor's technique as the gold standard for supra-trigonal vesicovaginal fistula repair. [11]

The use of free mucosal graft was first described in canine. [12] The authors reported good results in treating vesicovaginal fistula using a bladder mucosal autograft. In 1998, Brandt et al. reported good results for vesicovaginal fistula repair, using bladder mucosa. Success rate was 96.3% in 80 women. [13] Ostad also reported satisfactory results with a free bladder mucosal graft. [14] These promising figures are supported by two studies with success rates of 91% and 100%. [15],[16] In our study, the success rate was 95% that compares favorably with these and we used only Foley catheter and no cystostomy.

It remains true that the plan of repair should be tailored for each patient depending on the size, position, and number of fistulas and the state of surrounding tissues that may be used in the repair.


  Conclusion Top


Short duration of hospitalization, simplicity of the procedure, avoidance of extensive bladder dissection, and extraperitoneal nature of the operation are the advantages of this procedure. Considering its simplicity and safety, this procedure could be recommended for vesicovaginal fistula repair. However, the applicability of this technique for fistulae secondary to malignancies, in radiated patients and for multiple fistulae is not certain.

 
  References Top

1.Fichtner J, Voges G, Steinbach F, Hohenfellner R. Uterovesicovaginal fistulas. Surg Gynecol Obstet 1993;176:571-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
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2.Blaivas JG, Heritz DM, Romanzi LJ. Early versus late repair of vesicovaginal fistula: Vaginal and abdominal approaches. J Urol 1995;153:1110-2. discussion 1112-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Blandy JP, Badenoch DF, Fowler CG, Jenkins BJ, Thomas NW. Early repair of iatrogenic injury to the ureter or bladder after gynecological surgery. J Urol 1991;146:761-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
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4.Tancer ML. Observations on prevention and management of vesicovaginal fistula after total hysterectomy. Surg Gynecol Obstet 1992;175:501-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
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5.Elkins TE. Surgery for the obstetric vesicovaginal fistula: A review of 100 operations in 82 patients. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1994;170:1108-18. discussion 1118-20.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.Kelly J. Vesico-vaginal and recto-vaginal fistulae. J Obstet Gynaecol 1998;18:249-51.  Back to cited text no. 6
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7.Arrowsmith S, Hamlin EC, Wall LL. Obstructed labor injury complex: Obstetric fistula formation and the multifaceted morbidity of maternal birth trauma in the developing world. Obstet Gynecol Surv 1996;51:568-74.  Back to cited text no. 7
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8.O'Conor VJ Jr, Sokol JK, Bulkely GJ, Nanninga JB. Suprapubic closure of vesicovaginal fistula. J Urol 1973;109:51-4.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.Kiricuta I, Goldstein AM. The repair of extensive vesicovaginal fistulas with pedicled omentum: A review of 27 cases. J Urol 1972;108:724-7.  Back to cited text no. 9
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10.Turner-Warwick RT, Wynne EJ, Handley-Ashken M. The use of the omental pedicle graft in the repair and reconstruction of the urinary tract. Br J Surg 1967;54:849-53.  Back to cited text no. 10
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11.Nesrallah LJ, Srougi M, Gittes RF. The O'Conor's technique: The gold standard for supratrigonal vesicovaginal fistula repair. J Urol 1999;161:566-8.  Back to cited text no. 11
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12.Coleman JW, Albanese C, Marion D, O''Dell G, Amberson J, Quiguyan CC, et al. Experimental use of free grafts of bladder mucosa in canine bladders, successful closure of recurrent vesicovaginal fistula utilizing bladder mucosa. Urology 1985;25:515-7.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.Brandt FT, Lorenzato FR, Albuquerque CD. Treatment of vesicovaginal fistula by bladder mucosa autograft technique. J Am Coll Surg 1998;186:645-8.  Back to cited text no. 13
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14.Ostad M, Uzzo RG, Coleman J, Young GP. Use of a free bladder mucosal graft for simple repair of vesicovaginal fistulae. Urology 1998;52:123-6.  Back to cited text no. 14
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15.Sharifi-Aghdas F, Ghaderian N, Payvand A. Free bladder mucosal autograft in the treatment of complicated vesicovaginal fistula. BJU Int 2002;89(Suppl 1):54-6.  Back to cited text no. 15
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16.Vyas N, Nandi PR, Mahmood M, Tandon V, Dwivedi US, Singh PB. Bladder mucosal autografts for repair of vesicovaginal fistula. BJOG 2005;112:112-4.  Back to cited text no. 16
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