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Retropubic Colposuspension


  • A retropubic colposuspension is also known as open urinary bladder suspension. This surgery is done to treat stress urinary incontinence and bladder prolapse. Stress urinary incontinence is a condition where urine leaks before you are able to reach the toilet. This is due to sudden extra pressure put on the bladder. Small amounts of urine may escape during activities, such as laughing, coughing, and sports. A bladder prolapse happens when the ligaments (bands of tough tissue) supporting the bladder become weak. This causes the bladder to protrude or extend into the vagina.
  • In a retropubic colposuspension, a wide incision (cut) is made to open the lower abdomen (stomach). During this surgery, the bladder and urethra will be pulled up into a more fixed position. The urethra is the tube urine flows through when you urinate. Sutures (threads) are passed into the vaginal wall on either side of the neck of the bladder. These sutures may be tied to the ligaments, fascia (fibrous tissues), or pubic bone (front of the hip bone). This surgery is done to prevent the bladder from moving down, and urine from leaking out.



  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.


  • Ask your caregiver about doing Kegel exercises: These exercises squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and help them become stronger. Ask your caregiver when to start doing these exercises.
  • Avoid too much pressure in your abdomen (stomach): Do not strain, lift heavy objects, or stand for a very long time. Do not perform strenuous exercises, such as running and weight lifting.
  • Begin walking as soon as possible: Do not stay in bed for too long. Caregivers may have you start walking within a few days after the surgery.

Foley catheter:

Your caregiver may ask you to insert a foley catheter on your own. A foley catheter is a tube that is put into your bladder to drain your urine into a bag. The bladder is an organ where urine is kept. The catheter may make you feel like you have to urinate. If you are able to relax, the catheter will drain the urine for you. When the catheter is taken out, you can urinate on your own. Ask your caregiver for more information about self-catheterization.

  • Do not pull on the catheter because this will make you hurt or bleed.
  • Do not kink the catheter because the urine will not be able to drain out.
  • Do not lift the bag of urine above your waist. If you do this the urine will flow back into your bladder, and may cause an infection.

Rest when you need to while you heal after surgery.

Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.

Manage your stress:

Stress may slow healing and lead to illness. Learn ways to control stress, such as relaxation, deep breathing, and music. Talk to someone about things that upset you.

Support socks:

You may need to wear support socks. These socks may help decrease the swelling in your legs until you are walking more. They may also keep blood from staying in your legs and causing clots.

Wound care:

When you are allowed to bathe or shower, carefully wash the incision (cut) with soap and water. Afterwards, put on clean, new bandages. Change your bandages any time they get wet or dirty. Ask your caregivers for more information about wound care.


  • Your bandage becomes soaked with blood.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • You have nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up).
  • You have discharge or pain in the area where the urine catheter was inserted.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery, illness, or medicine.


  • You feel something is bulging out into your vagina or rectum (rear end) and not going back in.
  • You have any of the following problems:
    • Blood is present in your urine or catheter.
    • Unable to urinate.
    • Pain when passing urine or having sex.
  • You have pain in the abdomen that does not go away even after taking pain medicines.
  • Your incision has blood, pus, or a foul-smelling odor.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.