What is a vesico-colic fistula?

A vesico-colic fistula is an abnormal track or passage between the colon and the bladder.
Surgical repair of this track between the bowel (usually the sigmoid colon) and the bladder is done through a cut in the abdomen. Part of the bowel may need to be removed and the bladder sutured.

My anaesthetic

This procedure will require an anaesthetic.

What are the risks of this specific procedure?

There are risks and complications with this procedure.
They include but are not limited to the following.

General risks:

  • Infection can occur, requiring antibiotics and further treatment.
  • Bleeding could occur and may require a return to the operating room. Bleeding is more common if you have been taking blood thinning drugs such as Warfarin, Asprin, Clopidogrel (Plavix or Iscover) or Dipyridamole (Persantin or Asasantin).
  • Small areas of the lung can collapse, increasing the risk of chest infection. This may need antibiotics and physiotherapy.
  • Increased risk in obese people of wound infection, chest infection, heart and lung complications, and thrombosis.
  • Heart attack or stroke could occur due to the strain on the heart.
  • Blood clot in the leg (DVT) causing pain and swelling. In rare cases part of the clot may break off and go to the lungs.
  • Death as a result of this procedure is possible.

Specific risks:

  • There may be a need to form a colostomy (bowel brought out to the skin of your abdomen) to protect the anastomosis (the join of the bowel).
  • Rarely damage to the ureter – the tube bringing the urine from the kidney to the bladder. This may need further surgery.
  • Deep bleeding in the abdominal cavity and this may need fluid replacement or further surgery.
  • There is a risk of leakage of the join-up of the bowel, which could cause serious infection in the abdomen and further surgery.
  • The bowel movement may be paralysed or blocked after surgery and this may cause building up of fluid in the bowel with bloating of the abdomen and vomiting. Further treatment may be necessary.
  • Difficulty passing urine and a catheter may need to be left indwelling in the bladder for 7-10 days.
  • A weakness can occur in the abdominal wound with the development of a rupture. This may require further surgery.
  • In some people healing of the wound may be abnormal and the wound can be thickened and the wound may be painful.
  • The bowel actions may be much looser after the operation than before. Medication may be needed.
  • Rarely the fistula may reform. This may need further surgery.
  • Adhesions (bands of scar tissue) may develop and cause bowel obstruction. This can be a short term or a long term complication and may need further surgery.
  • Sexual Dysfunction due to nerve damage which may be permanent. In men, this may cause difficulty in having and maintaining an erection and/ or an inability to ejaculate. Treatment may include counselling and medication. In women, it can cause pain during or after intercourse. Treatment may include counselling and use of water-soluble lubrication during intercourse.
  • Increased risk in smokers of wound and chest infections, heart and lung complications and thrombosis.