Having surgery

Transvaginal rectocele repair and levatorplasty

You have surgery to repair a rectocele (a bulging of the anus into the vagina) under general anaesthetic. This means that you are asleep and do not feel anything.

You stay in hospital for 1 to 3 nights, depending on how you recover.

A family member or friend needs to travel with you when you leave hospital and stay with you for at least 24 hours.

We do everything that we can to make sure there is no change to your admission date (when you come into hospital). Sometimes, however, we might prioritise a person who needs emergency treatment.

Before surgery

You go to a pre-assessment clinic, where we:

  • check your health
  • ask you questions about your medical history (your past and present conditions and treatments)
  • ask you about your medicines
  • talk to you about the surgery in more detail

Please bring comfortable clothes into hospital with you. 

During surgery

On the morning of your surgery, you go to the surgical admissions lounge (SAL).

Your surgeon makes a cut on the back wall of the vagina and pushes the rectocele back into place. This is called a rectocele repair. 

The surgeon then stitches together the existing muscles to create a new support. This is called a levatorplasty.

Over the next few days, the bleeding reduces. However, you may have a small amount of bleeding or spotting for 6 to 8 weeks.

If you think that there is a lot of bleeding or the bleeding lasts longer than this, please contact us.

After surgery

After your surgery, we transfer you to a ward. You stay in hospital for 1 to 3 nights, depending on how you recover.

When you wake up, we put in a catheter. This is a long thin tube to drain pee (urine) out of your bladder. You then do not need to get up to pee.

We put a clean, soft gauze (loosely woven fabric used to bandage wounds) in your vagina. This is called vaginal packing. It helps to soak up any bleeding immediately after your surgery.

We remove the catheter and vaginal packing on the day after your surgery.

It helps to know what to expect while you recover.

  • We check your blood pressure regularly.
  • We give you laxatives (a medicine to help you poo).
  • You can eat and drink as soon as you feel able to do this.
  • You have compression stockings on your legs to prevent blood clots. We encourage you to move around as soon as possible.
  • Your stitches dissolve with time.
  • We give you pain medicine to help you manage discomfort from the muscle that has been repaired. 

Leaving hospital

When you leave (are discharged from) hospital, a family member or friend needs to travel with you. They then need to stay with you for at least 24 hours. It is important that you rest for the remainder of the day.

You need to continue taking your pain medicine and laxatives when you get home. The recovery process is different for everyone and can take 4 to 6 weeks.

You can resume your usual activities when you feel well enough. However, you need to avoid straining, lifting and doing heavy exercise for at least 6 weeks.

You may have vaginal discharge (fluid that comes from the vagina) or vaginal bleeding for up to 6 weeks after your surgery.

Tell your doctor if your vaginal discharge has a bad smell or is heavy, or you have a temperature. These can be signs of an infection.

Avoid using tampons or having penetrative sex until it feels comfortable to do this.

Follow-up appointment

You have a follow-up appointment about 6 to 8 weeks after your surgery.

If you have not received your appointment within 2 to 3 weeks of your surgery, please contact us to book an appointment.

Resource number: 3845/VER3
Last reviewed: April 2022
Next review: October 2023

Trusted Information Creator. Patient Information Forum

Contact us

Phone: 020 7188 8875, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Your GP or another health professionals can refer you to the service by email [email protected]


Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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