Twelve months after surgery, one in six women who had mesh implants to repair vaginal prolapse experienced complications and many required additional surgeries, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Vaginal prolapse, or pelvic organ prolapse, is a common disorder in women caused by age, childbirth or obesity. It can cause pain during sexual intercourse, urinary incontinence, or a general discomfort. Surgical procedures often but not always involve a type of surgical mesh known as transvaginal mesh.
The study involved 65 women with vaginal prolapse who underwent surgical repair for their conditions. Thirty-two of the women received the mesh while 33 women had a more traditional repair without the mesh. Participants were followed up for 12 months after the trial was stopped for mesh exposures, a complication in which the mesh erodes into the pelvic wall. The condition can cause pain, urinary incontinence or the need of a catheter in order to urinate, and a return of organ prolapse.
While both mesh and non-mesh participants initially reported improvement in quality of life, and symptoms were kept at bay for up to 12 months after surgery, of the women who had received the mesh, 15.6 had mesh exposures, and reoperation rates among the mesh group were also higher.
Last year, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel reviewed surgical mesh used for the repair of pelvic organ prolapse. The review came about after an unusually high number of complications were reported among women who had received surgical mesh for the repair of pelvic organ prolapse. The panel fell short of banning the devices, opting instead to advise the FDA to require clinical trials on the products before more are approved for use.