Introduction and hypothesis: This was an observational study aiming to determine factors which influence women's choice of surgery for primary stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
Methods: Two hundred twelve women undergoing a primary SUI procedure were recruited to this study from 12 hospitals in the north of England. After choosing a procedure, women were asked to complete a standardized semi-structured questionnaire about their health, demographics and a free text box to record factors important to them when choosing their procedure. Statistical analysis was performed to determine the impact of demographic, lifestyle or healthcare factors on women's decision-making. Thematic analysis of the free text data was performed to identify factors important for women when choosing a surgical procedure.
Results: Sixty-four percent of women chose urethral bulking. There was no significant difference among age, BMI, smoking status or previous laparotomy between women choosing the four types of surgery. Women were less likely to choose urethral bulking if seen in a tertiary centre compared with a secondary centre (p < 001). Major themes in decision-making were efficacy, invasiveness, recovery, risk of complications, use of mesh, the clinician, the media, hierarchy of treatments and type of anaesthetic. Some women expressed a hierarchical approach to treatment.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest decision-making is not influenced by patient factors such as age, BMI, smoking status or previous laparotomies. Women's choices are a complex mix of factors and not simply related to efficacy.
Keywords: Choice; Colposuspension; Decision making; Fascial sling; Mid-urethral tape; SUI; Urethral bulking.