In 1992 Dr. Margolis traveled to Ghana, West Africa to study the repair of vesicovaginal fistulas(VVF’s) in young women there. Subsequently, he has devoted his interest and career to study the cause and surgical correction of these fistulas. He has repaired hundreds of VVF’s. This devotion to serving women afflicted with fistula has taken him more recently to Uganda, East Africa where he has led a team of fistula surgeons from UCLA, the University of Kansas and Mbarara University of Science and Technology in the development of a vesicovaginal fistula hospital and center of excellence in pelvic surgery. He continues to travel to Uganda to operate and teach. Recently, Dr. Margolis has received an invitation from the government of Ghana to return there and develop a fistula hospital.
Dr. Margolis has repaired several hundred rectovaginal fistulas (RVF’s) in the U.S. and scores in Africa. RVF’s are far more common than VVF’s in the U.S. and are usually the result of obstetric injury.
The success rate for repair of simple post operative vesicovaginal and obstetric rectovaginal fistula are approximately 95% each. These fistulas are almost always repaired through a simple one hour transvaginal approach that rarely requires hospitalization. Patients can thus return to normal function quite quickly after surgery.
Fistulas less commonly seen but which Dr. Margolis also has extensive experience with include ureterovaginal and urethrovaginal fistulas. Dr. Margolis is one of only a few surgeons in the country who repairs ureterovaginal fistulas laparoscopically.
Fistulas serve as the foundation for Dr. Margolis’ surgical missions to Africa (please see “Surgical Missions").