Consistently inconsistent, the posterior vaginal wall

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Posterior vaginal wall prolapse is one of the most common prolapses encountered by gynecological surgeons. What appears to be a straightforward condition to diagnose and treat surgically for physicians has proven to be frustratingly unpredictable with regard to symptom relief for patients. Functional disorders such as dyssynergic defecation and constipation are often attributed to posterior vaginal wall prolapse. Little scientific evidence supports this assumption, emphasizing that structure and function are not synonymous when treating posterior vaginal wall prolapse. Rectoceles, enteroceles, sigmoidoceles, peritoneoceles, rectal and intraanal intussusception, rectal prolapse, and descending perineal syndrome are all conditions that have an impact on the posterior vaginal wall. All too often these different anatomic conditions are treated with the same surgical approach, addressing a posterior vaginal wall bulge with a traditional posterior colporrhaphy. Studies that examine the correlation between stage of posterior wall prolapse and patient symptoms have failed to reliably do so. Surgical outcomes measured by prolapse staging appear successful, yet patient expectations are often not met. As increasing attention is being placed on patient satisfaction outcomes concerning surgical treatments, this fact will need to be addressed. Surgeons will have to clearly communicate what can and what cannot be expected with surgical repair of posterior vaginal wall prolapse.

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