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Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2007 Nov;99 Suppl 1:S25-7. Epub 2007 Sep 14.

The classification of obstetric vesico-vaginal fistulas: a call for an evidence-based approach.

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  • 1Rehoboth McKinley Christian Healthcare Services, 1900 Redrock Dr., Gallup, NM 87301, USA.


Classification systems for vesico-vaginal fistulas (VVFs) are as old as fistula surgery itself. Many classification systems have been proposed over the past 150 years, and nearly all have been based on descriptions of the size and anatomic location of the defect. While useful in communicating the appearance of a given fistula, systems based on size and anatomy do not necessarily give information on the difficulty of repair or the prognosis for successful outcome. This article serves as a call for a classification system for VVFs based on outcome rather than anatomy. Developing a reliable system will require data resources that do not yet exist. Based on incomplete data from a Nigerian VVF center, a possible system is proposed for further study. Once available, an outcome-based classification system could be vital in selecting fistula cases appropriate for training surgeons, and in improving communication with patients.

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