A posterior repair is a surgical procedure to repair a prolapsed rectum, or rectocele, which occurs when the rectum presses into the vaginal wall. Since most of these surgeries are performed under general anesthesia, the patient will likely feel groggy as she wakes up. The initial recovery will begin in the hospital, with medications for pain and fluids administered intravenously. Once they are at home, patients will be able to gradually resume some activities, but a full recovery may take as long as three months. The patient should also monitor herself for signs of complications following surgery.
During the first 24 hours, patients are liable to feel particularly sick. After waking up from the anesthesia, patients will likely have a patient controlled analgesia system (PCA), which means that they have the option to give themselves more pain medication as they need it. Fluids will be administered intravenously, because the patient will likely be unable to drink or eat for a period of time. When she is able to eat, the doctor may prescribe oral pain pills.
After a posterior repair, the patient will have a catheter inserted to remove urine for perhaps two days. A sanitary pad will be needed after surgery. Patients may notice spotting, particularly after about two weeks when the stitches dissolve. The nurses will encourage walking after the first day and patients may be able to bathe one to two days after that. Most people are in the hospital for a total of two to three days.
Patients must refrain from driving until they are able to sit down comfortably and are no longer using narcotic pain medications, typically about three weeks. Once they are home from the hospital, they should rest frequently throughout the day. Tampons, douches, and sexual activity must be avoided entirely until the doctor examines the patient after six weeks. Heavy lifting and other strenuous activities must also be avoided after a posterior repair. Some patients may be able to resume light activities after six weeks; however, physical activities should be avoided for at least 12 weeks.
Throughout the patient's recovery from the posterior repair, she should be aware of possible complications and must inform the doctor immediately if certain symptoms are observed. These can include fever, bloody urine, or painful urination, as well as difficulty defecating, malodorous discharge, and swelling or pain in the legs. A posterior repair can also cause minor aches and discomfort in the vaginal area throughout the entire recovery time. Those who smoke will be more likely to develop an infection.