Special Needs – Rectal/Vaginal Fistula

Special Needs Guide

Rectal/Vaginal Fistula: Recto-vaginal or Recto-vestibular fistulas are types of anorectal malformations found in females. Often times, this medical need is called imperforate anus or anal atresia with a recto-vaginal or vestibular fistula.

Both the recto-vaginal and recto-vestibular fistula are caused when the rectum does not connect properly to the outside of the body. Instead, a small passageway, called a fistula occurs, and stool passes through it and out through the vagina. The difference between these two conditions lies in the exit point: recto-vaginal has a higher exit point into the vagina while a recto-vestibular fistula has much lower exit point into the vestibular section of the vagina. These conditions are found when the child is examined at birth to check for proper opening and position of the vagina and anus.

The corrective treatment for this condition includes either:

  • the PSARP surgery which eliminates the fistula, reroutes the rectum through the sphincter muscle complex and creation of new anus without the use of a colostomy.
  • Colostomy, anoplasty and reversal of colostomy which takes three separate surgeries.

Because this condition falls under ARM (anorectal malformation), children with a recto-vaginal or vestibular fistula, should also be screened for other VACTERL related conditions. The prognosis for children with recto-vaginal or recto-vestibular fistula is good since it is considered a low anorectal malformation. This means these children have a high chance of having bowel control and function.

No Hands But Ours[1]


Links for this Special Need:






Stories or Blogs from Families who have Parented a Child with Rectal/Vaginal Fistula:




[1] http://www.nohandsbutours.com/special-needs/