Surgery & Procedures

Martius Fat Pad Graft




What is it?

Transfer of fatty tissue normally found in the labia majora through a tunnel to around the female urethra.

When might it be used?

It is an additional step as part of a larger operation, such as:

  • removal of a urethral diverticulum
  • repair of a vesicovaginal or urethrovaginal fistula
  • urethroplasty

What is the advantage?

Using a Martius fat pad aims to improve the overall results of the surgery. The healthy tissue brought in may:

  • improve healing
  • reduce risk of fistula
  • reduce risk of recurrence

How long does it take?

An extra 10-20 minutes on top of your surgery.

What tests/preparation might be required?

Only the tests ordered for your major operation – no additional tests or preparation is required.

What is the recovery?

No additional time for recovery is involved. You will have a pressure dressing and a drain overnight after surgery which is removed the next day.

What are the potential risks?

During surgery: there is a risk of bleeding or damage to nerves.

Postoperatively there is a risk of:

  • labial haematoma 1-5% - this rarely needs draining in theatre
  • some labial swelling is normal but can look dramatic
  • the incision may be tender but is usually controlled with oral pain relief tablets
  • asymmetry, which is usually not noticeable

Cosmetic results are usually excellent, with healing by 6 weeks the scar is difficult to see. Some notice some erythema or sensitivity of the labia.

Scar sensitivity can be a problem for some women, made worse by wearing tight clothes or sitting for long periods. Usually this improves. Rarely this needs specific analgesia or pain relieving injections.

You or a partner may be able to feel a soft bulkiness in the front wall of the vagina. This is the fat pad, and is a sign that it is healthy and has a good blood supply.

Version: V2, July 2013

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