Rectovaginal Fistula

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StatPearls [Internet]


A fistula is an abnormal connection between 2 epithelial surfaces. This is a general definition that applies to most of the known fistula but not all of them. The general description differentiates fistulae from sinuses, abscesses, and other forms of luminal tracts or extra-luminal collections.

Fistula connects 2 surfaces or lumens. It begins on the offending side and makes its way to an adjacent lumen or surface. It follows the easiest and shortest path to the adjacent organ. The recto-vaginal fistula starts from the rectum and extends to the vagina. It is not a healthy situation or physiological status. There is usually an underlying pathology, injury, or surgical event.

Characteristics of rectovaginal fistula (RVF), for example, site, size, length, activity, and symptoms, vary depending on the cause of the fistula, patient factors, and the treatment received. It is a potentially challenging surgical condition for both the patient and the health care team. The underlying etiology determines the method of assessment, management, and prognosis. This article reviews the rectovaginal fistula under the general category of fistulae.

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