Colpectomy (removal of the vagina)
What does a colpectomy (removing the vagina) entail? How to prepare for this type of operation? Below, you will find out about the procedure, the risks involved in the operation and the post-operative period following a colpectomy.
Removal of female genitals
- Removal of the uterus (hysterectomy)
- Removal of the vagina (colpectomy)
- Removal of the ovaries (oophorectomy)
- Removal of the fallopian tubes (salpingectomy )
Colpectomy in combination with removal of the uterus
Robotic laparoscopic surgery
Colpectomy in case your uterus was removed previously
Additional information about the operation (both techniques)
Complications and risks during and after surgery
- Haemorrhaging during or after surgery. Loss of blood and fluids during the operation is common, but if there is a large amount of blood loss, this is considered a complication. A blood transfusion may then be necessary. Haemorrhaging may also occur after the operation (including once your are back home again), and may require another operation to stop the bleeding. Sometimes it is necessary to insert a gauze to stop the bleeding
- Infection. The abdominal incisions or those in the vagina can become infected. This can already occur in the hospital. Sometimes it can be treated with antibiotics, but, in other instances, surgery will be needed to clear up the infection.
- Fistula. In rare cases, a connection develops between the bladder or bowel and the vaginal cavity; this is called a fistula. Sometimes additional surgery is required to remove the fistula.
- Thrombosis. With any operation, there is a slightly increased risk of thrombosis (i.e. a blood clot in a blood vessel). You can reduce the risk of this happening by starting to move around again as soon as you can, after the operation, rather than lying still in bed. In hospital, you will also be provided with medication that will help to prevent this.
- Damage to bladder, bowel or urinary tract. During the operation, the bladder, bowel or urinary tract may become damaged. If this is obvious during the operation, it will be repaired immediately, if possible. Sometimes, a separate operation will be needed. If the bladder is damaged, a urinary catheter will be inserted that will remain in place for at least seven days, so will also be there when you are at home. Damage to the bowel is very rare.
- Inability to completely empty the bladder (urinary retention). After the operation, it may be that the bladder cannot empty itself, sufficiently. If this happens, a bladder catheter will be reinserted, sometimes for a longer period of time. Usually, the bladder will fully recover.
- Bladder infection. The bladder catheter used during the procedure, in some instances, may cause a bladder infection. If you suspect you have a bladder infection, contact your treating physician or your general practitioner.
This text was edited on 14-10-2022
We recommend that you go through all the information step by step to get a complete picture of the different treatment options and the process around them!
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Below, you can read about the procedure, the risks of the operation and the period after the operation. The illustrations give you more insight into the surgical procedure itself.