Colpocleisis (partial closure of the vagina)

Colpocleisis is very simple operation that supports the uterus and vagina by partial closing the vagina using sutures (stiches). This operation is not often used as it is not suitable for women who wish to remain sexually active. It is usually reserved for older, medically frail women who haven’t been able to successfully use a vaginal pessary (vaginal ring). This operation is relatively quick to perform often taking only around 20 minutes and can be performed under local anaesthesia with sedation for some women.

What happens during surgery?

The surgery can be performed under local anaesthesia and sedation, a spinal anaesthetic or general anaesthetic. The surgery involves a partial closure of the vagina to prevent prolapse of the uterus and other pelvic organs (bladder and the rectum). A portion of the front and back walls of the vagina are removed and sutured together resulting in a partial closure of the central part of the vagina cavity. Women generally make a rapid recovery following a colpocleisis operation and typically leave hospital the day after surgery.

The illustration above demonstrates the colpocleisis operation. The central part of the vagina is closed to prevent prolapse of the pelvic organ while part of the vagina remains open.

Dr Carey will be happy to answer any questions you may have and can give more specific advice. Before deciding to have surgery, you should read carefully all the information about your operation and consider obtaining a second opinion.

If you experience complications after you leave hospital, contact Dr Carey or the nursing staff on 1 West at the Epworth Freemasons Hospital for advice. In an emergency you may attend the Royal Women’s Hospital, Parkville or Epworth Hospital, Richmond emergency department or attend your closest hospital emergency department.