A retrospective analysis of all women undergoing hysterectomy at Sydney West Advanced Pelvic Surgery Unit (SWAPS) was performed in the nine‐year period from 2001 to 2009.

To evaluate the incidence, timing and presenting symptoms of vaginal vault dehiscence after hysterectomy, especially via the laparoscopic approach to gain further understanding of patient risk factors and surgical factors that may predispose to this complication.

Women who presented with vaginal vault dehiscence were identified and possible pre‐operative, intra‐operative and post‐operative risk factors were assessed. A comprehensive literature search was performed to assess the current understanding and incidence of vault dehiscence after laparoscopic hysterectomy.

A total of 1224 hysterectomies were performed between 2001 and 2009. 989 (80.80%) were performed laparoscopically of which five women (0.42%) presented with vault dehiscence post‐operatively. All had undergone total laparoscopic hysterectomy resulting in a vault dehiscence rate of 1.59% after total laparoscopic hysterectomy specifically. Baseline characteristics included a mean age of 42.8 years (37–51 years), mean BMI of 26.8 kg/m2 (23.8–32.3 kg/m2) and a mean parity of two deliveries (1–3 deliveries). The main presenting symptom of vaginal vault dehiscence was vaginal bleeding. Women with confirmed vaginal vault dehiscence readmitted to hospital at a mean of 18 days (11–28 days) post‐operatively.

Vaginal vault dehiscence is a rare complication after hysterectomy, but more common after a laparoscopic approach. A delayed presentation with vaginal bleeding was the main presenting symptom in this study – a literature review has shown common presenting symptoms to include abdominal pain, vaginal evisceration and vaginal bleeding. Techniques specific to total laparoscopic hysterectomy seem especially important in the increased risk of vaginal vault dehiscence seen after laparoscopic hysterectomy.