This is an operation on the vagina. It may be performed to open up a narrowed vagina. Sometimes the vagina can be narrowed by scar tissue from previous surgery. Sometimes it is performed to narrow the vagina if it is too loose.
In severe cases complex surgery can be required using skin or other grafts or even bowel to enlarge the vagina.
More commonly though a simple procedure is performed to make a cut in the wall of the vagina to release the scar tissue.
This is usually a minor procedure performed under anaesthesia.
A vaginal pack and catheter are inserted and removed after 1-2 days.
The key to success after this surgery is using vaginal dilators to keep the vagina open and to stop scar tissue from forming and narrowing it down again. (see the information sheet on using vaginal dilators).
Risks with this procedure include:
- Bleeding. The risk of requiring a blood transfusion is small.
- Failure of the surgery to open up the vagina adequately.
- Recurrence of the scarring or further scarring resulting worsening of the condition. Use of vaginal dilators help to prevent this.
- Damage to neighbouring structures like bladder, urethra, ureter or bowel. This is rare but serious and can result in a fistula and major surgery to repair it.
- There are general risks or surgery including abdominal, cardiovascular (heart), and pulmonary (lung) illnesses; 2-5%. These include Deep Vein Thrombosis (blood clots in deep leg veins), Pulmonary Embolus (these clots dislodging and going to the lungs), pneumonia, Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) and Cerebro-Vascular Accident (stroke).
- There is a small risk of death; 5 in 10,000.
It is often not possible to warn patients of every possible risk or potential complication with surgery especially if very rare. Yet it is important that you are aware of what risks are involved, especially the more common ones. This information is not meant to alarm you but allow you to make an informed consent to have surgery. It is very rare but unfortunately some patients can suffer complications and end up worse off as a result of their surgery.
After surgery the wound in the vagina is usually left open to heal up. This means there maybe some bleeding and discharge from the vagina on and off for up to six weeks.
Version: V3, July 2017