Sep 06

Pelvic Organ Prolapse Surgery and Graft Complications 1950-present

Vaginal prolapse surgery with synthetic and non-synthetic graft material –

Concerns about the use of graft material, particularly Prolene mesh, continue to mount after the most recent FDA warning on mesh in vaginal surgery.  These diligent authors from Michigan, Texas, Massachussetts, Washington State, New Mexico and Israel combed the international medical literature in all languages from 1950 to present, looking for data on adverse events when graft material is used at the time of vaginal prolapse repair. Three common problems, erosion (graft eroding through the vaginal skin so that it is palpable to touch and/or visible to the examining eye), granulation tissue (“proud flesh” commonly found in wounds as they heal inside and outside of the body), and dyspareunia (painful sex) were the key factors under review.

Granulation, Erosion, Dyspareunia and Prolapse Organ Prolapse Surgery with Graft Materials

What they found is that rates of each of the three complications did not differ between synthetic (such as non-absorbable Prolene or absorbable  Vicryl mesh) vs non-synthetic (such as porcine [Surgisis] or bovine [Xenform] or human cadaver-based) graft material, and that reportage with regard to sexual problems was so spotty and incomplete that it was difficult to figure out if women with sexual pain after surgery had sexual pain before surgery with the problem persisting after reconstruction, or whether it was clear that the surgery definitely caused the dyspareunia (sexual pain).

Of the more than 2000 mauscripts considered, less than 200 were included and most did not report on all three of these possible complications. In more recent years, the reportage tended to be consistent with our modern-day concerns, as one might expect the case to be.

Bottom line: there are no guarantees. Grafts reduce prolapse recurrence rates, but come with their own set of headaches.


To mesh or not to mesh?

Synopsis for the Journal of Sexual Medicine from original manscript published in the July 2011 issue of the International Urogynecology Journal:

Abed H, Rahn DD, Lowenstein L, Balk EM, Clemons JL, Roberts RG

Incidence and management of graft eriosion, wound granulation and dyspareunia following vagianl prolapse repair with graft maeriasl: a stematic review.

Int Urogynecol J (2011) 22:789-98.

This metanalysis reviewed global data published from 1950-2010 from papers  reporting adverse events after vaginal prolapse repairs using graft materials. 2260 citations were identified using Medline search terms including vaginal or uterine prolapse, rectocele, surgical mesh, cystocele, and similar pelvic  floor terms. After review of each, data from 196 manuscripts was included in this analysis. Graft erosion was reported in 110 studies (10.3%) with similar rates for synthetic and biologic grafts.  Diagnosis of erosion occurred between 6 weeks and 12 months. The most common risk factor for erosion was concomitant hysterectomy, as well as patient age, smoking and diabetes, surgeon experience, and use of T incision of vaginal skin during dissection. Granulation tissue as reported in 7.8% of the 16 papers reporting on this outcome in series using a single type of graft material. While not statistically significant, the reported rate of granulation was higher with biologic graft material than with synthetic/permanent graft material (9.1% and 6.8%, respectively). Spontaneous resolution of granulation tissue and resolution with suture removal and silver nitrate treatment were reported treatment options.

Dyspareunia was reported in 71 papers with overall incidence of 9.1%, rates similar between synthetic and biologic grafts, with risk factors including posterior repair and mesh erosion. Listed treatments included vaginal estrogen cream and excision of eroded mesh. The authors point out that many of these studies did not limit reportage to sexually active women, nor make clear whether the painful sex was persistent or de novo. They also remind the readers that dyspareunia is known to occur with native tissue repairs also, operations where no graft material of any sort is used. The authors go on to report that most of the studies did not including what proportion of women sere sexually active, how may had pre-existing sexual dysfunction and how many benefited from improved sexual function. They state that as more studies use the validated quality of life Pelvic Organ Prolapse / Urinary Incontinence Sexual Questionnaire, the quality of  data on the impact of pelvic floor surgery on sexual function will improve in accuracy and clinical relevance.

Content is copyright protected on date of online publication. Content herein does not represent medical advice. To learn more about pelvic floor disorders such as fistula, pelvic organ prolapse, dropped bladder, dropped uterus, hysteropexy uterine resuspension, vaginal laxity, rectocele, postpartum rehabilitation, vaginal rejuvenation, labiaplasty, vaginoplasty, Kegel exercise or incontinence please visit other posts in this blog and the Urogynics website at www.urogynics.org.



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