Women who have been implanted with surgical mesh to correct anterior vaginal wall prolapse are at a higher risk for repeat surgery, according to a recent study led by Dr. Jennifer Wu of Duke University.
Dr. Wu and her colleagues estimated the need for repeat surgery in patients who had been implanted with transvaginal mesh kits by analyzed data pulled from the MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database, which collects health care claims data from employer-based medical insurance data and the Medicare supplemental database. According to Medscape Medical News, the two databases encompass about 50 million patients, or one-sixth the U.S. population.
The study looked at the long-term (up to 5 years) outcomes of 27,809 women who underwent anterior vaginal wall prolapse surgery, including 6,871 who received some form of transvaginal mesh and 20,938 women who had surgical repairs completed with native tissue.
Data showed that the 5-year risk for repeat surgery was higher in the transvaginal-mesh group (15.2 percent) than the native-tissue group (9.8 percent). According to the records, the rate of revision surgery to remove the transvaginal mesh was 5.9 percent after 5 years.
Dr. John O. DeLancey of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who did not participate in the research, told Medscape Medical News that he believes vaginal mesh will continue to play some role in prolapse surgeries, but stressed that “it has to be safe first.”
He told Mescape Medical News that vaginal mesh complications and removal can be extremely difficult. “For these poor women, it is life altering,” Dr. DeLancey told Medscape. Removing the transvaginal mesh is extremely difficult because “you can’t get all of the mesh out because the arms go deeper into the body,” he added.
Thousands of women are suing the makers of transvaginal mesh products over injuries they blame on the mesh devices. Most complaints accuse manufacturers of failing to adequately test their products for safety before putting them on the market. Some 300,000 women in the U.S have been implanted with transvaginal mesh.