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Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Surgery for Rectocele and Enterocele

Cutaway view of rectum and vagina

Cutaway view of rectum and vagina

Cutaway view of rectum and vagina
Posterior repair

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Incision made in vaginal wall
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Abdominal incisions

The organs in the pelvis are supported by structures around them. Things like aging and childbirth can cause these structures to weaken. Loss of support lets pelvic organs fall out of their normal position. This is called prolapse. If the rectum falls out of place and bulges into the vagina, it is called rectocele. If the small intestine falls out of place and bulges into the vagina, it is called enterocele. Surgery can be done to fix these problems. This will help relieve your symptoms.

The Surgical Procedure

  • To correct a rectocele, the rectum is moved back to its normal position. The tissue between the vagina and rectum is sutured (stitched) to strengthen it. This stops the rectum from bulging into the vagina.

  • To correct an enterocele, the small intestine is moved away from the vagina. Excess tissue is then sutured. This holds it in place.

Your Incisions

During surgery, the doctor reaches your pelvic organs through the vagina or the abdomen. An incision is made in the wall of the vagina. Or, it is made through the skin of the lower belly. The belly incision can be vertical (up and down) or transverse (across).

Possible Risks and Complications of Prolapse Surgery

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Risks of anesthesia

  • Damage to nerves, muscles, or nearby pelvic structures

  • Blood clots

  • Prolapse of the pelvic organ or organs occurring again

Online Medical Reviewer: Fan, Linda L, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Iglesia, Cheryl, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 12/14/2011
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.