Vaginal Mesh for SUI repair
Synthetic surgical mesh is a material used in the treatment of a number of medical conditions, including stress urinary incontinence (SUI). In the treatment of SUI, synthetic mesh is commonly used to create what is known as a “sling” that is used to raise the bladder neck and the urethra, making it more difficult for urine to leak during physical activity (e.g., lifting, coughing, sneezing, etc.).
Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about synthetic surgical mesh that has prompted increased scrutiny of the material, particularly as it relates to the repair of pelvic organ prolapse (POP), a more serious condition in which some organs (e.g., uterus, bladder) slip out of place. The American Urological Association (AUA) is continuing to advise physicians that synthetic mesh slings are an appropriate treatment choice for women with SUI, and asserts that extensive data support the use of synthetic mesh slings to treat SUI.
The Urology Care Foundation is concerned that recent news about the FDA’s safety regarding the use of mesh for POP vs. its use in the treatment of SUI may have led to significant confusion in the patient community.
If you are considering sling surgery, or if you have undergone this treatment for SUI and have concerns about the use of mesh, the Urology Care Foundation offers the following advice:
- Prior to surgery, talk with your surgeon about which type of sling (synthetic mesh or biological tissue) will be used in the procedure.
- It is important to recognize post-surgical complications early, so that they can be addressed promptly. Talk with your provider about symptoms (e.g., bleeding, pain, urinary dysfunction) that may require immediate attention.
- Understand that many complications of sling surgery for SUI may not be related to the mesh itself; some complications can occur with non-mesh sling procedures as well.
- Mesh-related complications from sling placement are typically easier to address than those related to POP repair.