Evaluation and management of complications from synthetic mesh after pelvic reconstructive surgery: a multicenter study

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Feb;210(2):163.e1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2013.10.012. Epub 2013 Oct 11.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe the evaluation and management of synthetic mesh-related complications after surgery for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and/or pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

Study design: We conducted a multicenter, retrospective analysis of women who attended 4 US tertiary referral centers for evaluation of mesh-related complications after surgery for SUI and/or POP from January 2006 to December 2010. Demographic, clinical, and surgical data were abstracted from the medical record, and complications were classified according to the Expanded Accordion Severity Classification.

Results: Three hundred forty-seven patients sought management of synthetic mesh-related complications over the study period. Index surgeries were performed for the following indications: SUI (sling only), 49.9%; POP (transvaginal mesh [TVM] or sacrocolpopexy only), 25.6%; and SUI + POP (sling + TVM or sacrocolpopexy), 24.2%. Median time to evaluation was 5.8 months (range, 0-65.2). Thirty percent of the patients had dyspareunia; 42.7% of the patients had mesh erosion; and 34.6% of the patients had pelvic pain. Seventy-seven percent of the patients had a grade 3 or 4 (severe) complication. Patients with TVM or sacrocolpopexy were more likely to have mesh erosion and vaginal symptoms compared with sling only. The median number of treatments for mesh complications was 2 (range, 1-9); 60% of the women required ≥2 interventions. Initial treatment intervention was surgical for 49% of subjects. Of those treatments that initially were managed nonsurgically, 59.3% went on to surgical intervention.

Conclusion: Most of the women who seek management of synthetic mesh complication after POP or SUI surgery have severe complications that require surgical intervention; a significant proportion require >1 surgical procedure. The pattern of complaints differs by index procedure.

Keywords: mesh excision; mesh-related complication; sling; synthetic mesh.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures
  • Reoperation / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Mesh / adverse effects*
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress / surgery*