Colovesical fistula: review on conservative management, surgical techniques and minimally invasive approaches

G Chir. 2018 Jul-Aug;39(4):195-207.


Colovesical fistula (CVF) is an abnormal communication between bowel and urinary bladder. Main causes are represented by complicated diverticular disease, colonic and bladder cancer and iatrogenic complications. Diagnosis is often based on patognomonic signs: faecaluria, pneumaturia and recurrent urinary tract infections. Treatment of CVF includes non-surgical and surgical strategy. The non-surgical treatment is reserved to selected patients who are unfit for surgery. Surgery of CVFs is determined by the site of the colonic lesion and patient's comorbidity. However the surgical one-stage approach should be preferred, reserving the multi-stage procedure in patients with a pelvic abscess, or with advanced malignancy, or previous radiation therapy. The sole defunctioning stoma may be an option to improve the quality of life in patients unfit for bowel resection. In open surgery the standard operative management consists in resection and anastomosis of the involved bowel segment and closure of the bladder. Laparoscopic treatment of CVFs is feasible and safe if performed by skilled surgeons. Robotic surgery for CVF treatment is safe and feasible similarly to laparoscopic one and it seems to reduce the conversion rate with respect to laparoscopy. However, further studies are needed to evaluate the advantages of robotic surgery over laparoscopy in the management of CVF. Currently, in Literature it is still debated which is the best surgical approach for CFV treatment due to the lack of RCTs and CCTs, the small sample size and the short follow-up. Further studies with higher quality and larger sample size are necessary to state the gold standard surgical treatment of CVFs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colectomy / methods
  • Colonic Neoplasms / complications
  • Colonic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Conservative Treatment*
  • Cystectomy / methods
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Fistula / diagnostic imaging
  • Intestinal Fistula / mortality
  • Intestinal Fistula / surgery*
  • Intestinal Fistula / therapy
  • Laparoscopy / methods
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Recurrence
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Surgical Flaps
  • Urinary Bladder Fistula / diagnostic imaging
  • Urinary Bladder Fistula / mortality
  • Urinary Bladder Fistula / surgery*
  • Urinary Bladder Fistula / therapy
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / complications
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / surgery