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What are common complications of bladder repair surgery?

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Complications associated with the surgical repair of a bladder prolapse, or cystocele, include infection, fistula formation, pain during sex, urinary retention and incontinence, according to WebMD. The bladder may be injured, and as of 2015, approximately 20 percent of women who undergo cystocele repair surgery experience another prolapse.

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Bladder repair surgery is performed under general anesthesia and usually requires a hospital stay of up to two days, explains WebMD. Because many women who experience a bladder prolapse also have urethral prolapse, an urethrocele repair may be performed during the bladder procedure. The doctor makes an incision in the vaginal wall to repair and tighten the damaged or sagging tissue in the bladder wall and surrounding the urethra. The woman often returns home with a catheter, and typically resumes normal activities, including sexual intercourse, within six weeks. Urinary function normally returns within six weeks.

Women should avoid prolonged standing and heavy lifting for the three months following surgery, advises WebMD. Maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and avoiding constipation help to prevent a recurrence of the prolapse. Bladder prolapse is usually caused by damage sustained during a vaginal birth, and many women have some amount of bladder or urethral prolapse with no symptoms. Surgery is only recommended when symptoms interfere with a woman’s daily activities.

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