Urethrovaginal fistula repair with or without concurrent fascial sling placement: A retrospective review


  • Sarah Neu
  • Jennifer Locke Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • Mitchell Goldenberg Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • Sender Herschorn Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre




Urethrovaginal fistula, fistula, fascial sling, pubovaginal sling, incontinence


Introduction: We sought to review outcomes of urethrovaginal fistula (UVF) repair, with or without concurrent fascial sling placement.

Methods: All patients diagnosed with UVF at our center from 1988–2017 were included in this study. Patient charts were reviewed from a prospectively kept fistula database, and patient characteristics and surgical outcomes were described. Descriptive statistics were applied to compare complication rates between patients with or without fascial sling placement at the time of UVF repair.

Results: A total of 41 cases of UVF were identified, all of which underwent surgical repair. Median age at diagnosis was 49 years (interquartile range [IQR] 35–62). All patients had undergone pelvic surgery. UVF etiology was secondary to stress urinary incontinence (SUI) surgery in 17 patients (41%) and urethral diverticulum repair in seven patients (17%). The most common presenting symptom was continuous incontinence in 19 patients (46%). Nineteen patients had a fascial sling placed at the time of surgery (46%), with no significant difference in complication rates (26% vs. 23%, p=0.79). Two patients had Clavien-Dindo grade I complications (5%) and one had a grade III complication (2%). Four patients had long-term complications (10%), including urinary retention, chronic pain, and urethral stricture. Two patients had UVF recurrence (5%). Median followup after surgery was 21 months (IQR 4–72).

Conclusions: UVF should be suspected in patients with continuous incontinence following a surgical procedure. Most UVF surgical repairs are successful and can be done with concurrent placement of a fascial sling.


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How to Cite

Neu, S., Locke, J., Goldenberg, M., & Herschorn, S. (2020). Urethrovaginal fistula repair with or without concurrent fascial sling placement: A retrospective review. Canadian Urological Association Journal, 15(5), E276–80. https://doi.org/10.5489/cuaj.6786



Original Research