A rectovaginal fistula (RVF) is an epithelial lined tract between the rectum and vagina. This can result in recurrent urinary tract or vaginal infections, but also creates a significant psychosocial burden for the patient. Unfortunately, due to the individual complexities of these patients, they are difficult to manage despite the numerous surgical options presently described.1
Generally RVFs are classified as low, middle or high, due to the location of the rectal and vaginal opening. Due to this, both low and middle RVFs may be approached via anal, perineal or vaginal routes. Where as high RVFs, which have their vaginal opening near the cervix, generally require an abdominal approach for repair.2
Traditionally for high RVFs patients underwent open surgery; however, minimally invasive surgery has recently been widely accepted as the preferred approach. Although surgeons are becoming more facile with these approaches, both pelvic surgery and a reoperative abdomen still impose significant technical difficulties.3,4 Here, we present the video of a female with a complex surgical history including a hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oopherectomy, creation and reversal of a Hartmann’s colostomy as well as a loop ileostomy due to a locally advanced recto-sigmoid cancer, who subsequently developed a rectovaginal fistula and was managed minimally invasively with a multidisciplinary novel approach through a posterior vaginectomy; an approach that utilized the enhanced magnification of the Robot, which improved visualization and allowed access into an uninflamed, virgin plane, resulting in minimal loss of vaginal length.
Milind D. Kachare, M.D.
Osvaldo Zumba, M.D.
Lorna Rodriguez-Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D.
Nell Maloney-Patel, M.D.
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Hackensack University Medical Center, City of Hope National Medical Center