Best Practices in Robotic-assisted Repair of Vesicovaginal Fistula: A Consensus Report from the European Association of Urology Robotic Urology Section Scientific Working Group for Reconstructive Urology

Eur Urol. 2020 Sep;78(3):432-442. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2020.06.029. Epub 2020 Jul 9.


Context: Surgical repair of a vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) has been described extensively in the literature for several decades. Advances in robotic repair have been adopted since 2005.

Objective: A consensus review of existing data based on published case series, expert opinion, and a survey monkey.

Evidence acquisition: This document summarizes the consensus group meeting and survey monkey results convened by the European Association of Urology Robotic Urology Section (ERUS) relating to the robotic management of VVF.

Evidence synthesis: Current data underline the successful robotic repair of supratrigonal nonobstetric VVF. The panel recommends preoperative marking of the fistula by a guidewire or ureteral catheter, and placement of a protective ureteral JJ stent. An extravesical robotic approach usually provides a good anatomic view for adequate and wide dissection of the vesicovaginal space, as well as bladder and vaginal mobilization. Careful sharp dissection of fistula edges should be performed. Tension-free closure of the bladder is of utmost importance. Tissue interposition seems to be beneficial. The success rate of published series often reaches near 100%. An indwelling bladder catheter should be placed for about 10 d postoperatively.

Conclusions: When considering robotic repair for VVF, it is essential to establish the size, number, location, and etiology of the VVF. Robotic assistance facilitates dissection of the vesicovaginal space, harvesting of a well-vascularized tissue flap, and a tension-free closure of the bladder with low morbidity for the patient being operated in the deep pelvis with delicate anatomical structures.

Patient summary: Robotic repair of a vesicovaginal fistula can be applied safely with an excellent success rate and very low morbidity. This confirms the use of robotic surgery for vesicovaginal fistula repair, which is recommended in a consensus by the European Association of Urology Robotic Section Scientific Working Group for reconstructive urology.

Keywords: Consensus statement; Robotic reconstruction; Vesicovaginal fistula.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Benchmarking*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures / standards*
  • Societies, Medical
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures / standards
  • Urology
  • Vesicovaginal Fistula / surgery*