A third of patients who undergo surgery to repair common pelvic floor disorders experience complications, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The surgery, called an abdominal sacrocolpopexy, is used to correct pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. It involves the vaginal insertion of surgical mesh, which is used to hold up organs such as the bladder, rectum or uterus that have fallen out of place due to childbirth, age or obesity. About 25 percent of women suffer from these conditions and about 11 to 19 percent undergo sacrocolpopexy to correct it.
Though the surgery has been used for more than a decade, in recent years the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that the device inserted during the surgery – also known as transvaginal mesh or a bladder sling – can cause serious injuries such as erosion, embedding into organs, and infections. Women have suffered from severe pain and disability, and some have even died.
The new study, conducted by researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine, followed 215 women who received transvaginal mesh for about seven years. In that time, about a third of the women saw their symptoms return or had their pelvic organs slip out of place. Nearly 17 percent needed additional surgery to either treat or correct the original prolapse or to treat complications related to the transvaginal mesh. Ten percent of the women had their mesh erode into other organs.
Victims of transvaginal mesh have petitioned the FDA to ban the devices, but the agency has yet to issue a recall. Hundreds of women have filed lawsuits against the makers of transvaginal mesh claiming they were not adequately warned of the serious problems related to the mesh.
Source: Montgomery Advertiser