Skip to Content

Retropubic Colposuspension


Retropubic colposuspension is surgery to lift your bladder and urethra back into place. The urethra is the tube urine flows through when you urinate.


The week before your surgery:

  • Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you need to stop using any medications. These may include aspirin, ibuprofen, or blood thinners.
  • Ask your healthcare provider before using any over-the-counter or herbal medicine or supplement. If you regularly use these medicines or supplements, tell your healthcare provider.
  • You may be given dye before the pictures are taken to help healthcare providers see the pictures better. Tell healthcare providers if you are allergic to iodine or shellfish. You may also be allergic to the dye.
  • Keep a record of the number of times you pass urine each day. Describe the color and amount of your urine for each time you use the bathroom. Bring this record with you when you see your healthcare provider.
  • You may need to have urine tests, a cystoscopy, chest x-ray, and blood tests. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about these and other tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.

The night before your surgery:

  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
  • Your bowel may need to be emptied and cleaned out before the surgery. Healthcare providers may give you a liquid medicine called an enema. This will be put into your rectum to help empty your bowel. Your healthcare provider will teach you how to do this.
  • You may be given a pill to help you sleep.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your healthcare provider before taking any medicine on the day of your surgery. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring all the medicines you are taking, including the pill bottles, with you to the hospital.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Healthcare providers will insert an IV into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. You may be given liquids and medicine through the IV.
  • An anesthesiologist may talk to you before your surgery. This healthcare provider may give you medicine to make you sleepy during your surgery.


What will happen:

  • You may be given medicine to help you relax or make you drowsy. Your abdomen and vaginal area will be cleaned with soap and water. Sheets will be put over you to keep the surgery area clean. A catheter may be inserted to inject iodine dye through, and it is also used to drain your urine.
  • Healthcare providers may give general anesthesia to keep you completely asleep. A wide abdominal incision just above the pubic hairline will be made. Two to four stitches may be placed to suspend the bladder and support the pelvic ligaments. These stitches will pass into the vaginal wall on either side of the neck of the bladder. Healthcare providers may tie the stitches into the ligaments or pubic bone. A dye may be injected through the catheter to check for any damage to the bladder. Thin rubber tubes may also be put into your skin to drain blood from your incision. The incision is then closed with stitches or surgical staples and covered with bandages.

After your surgery:

You may be taken to a recovery room until you are fully awake. You may need to lie flat and still in bed for a few hours. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. The bandages used to cover your stitches keep the areas clean and dry to prevent infection. A healthcare provider may remove the drain or bandage soon after your surgery to check the incision. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about ways to prevent bleeding and take care of your incision.


  • You have a fever.
  • You cannot make it to your appointment on time.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You have a bulge from your vaginal opening and it will not go back in.
  • Your urine is leaking out more often than usual.


  • You may have bleeding or an infection from surgery. Your bladder or intestines may get injured during surgery. Your symptoms may only be relieved for a short time, or they may not be relieved at all. Sometimes, your risk of another prolapse may also increase. You may have an increased risk of a blood clot in your leg or lungs.
  • Without treatment, you may have difficult, painful, or frequent urination, especially at night. You may continue to leak urine when coughing, sneezing, or laughing. You may also have pain when having sex. If you have a prolapse, it may push the bladder out of the vaginal opening even further. This may lead to other serious medical problems.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.