Mesh Fails 25 Percent of Time in Vaginal Prolapse Repair

//Mesh Fails 25 Percent of Time in Vaginal Prolapse Repair

Mesh Fails 25 Percent of Time in Vaginal Prolapse Repair


Ingrid Nygaard

Ingrid Nygaard

May 15, 2013 ~ Bloomberg (here) reports surgery to treat pelvic organ prolapse failed about 25 percent of the time within seven years.

Reported in the May 15th Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) this is the longest look ever to determine how those who undergo pelvic organ prolapse (POP) repair fared in the long-term.

Sacrocolpopexy, U of VA Health Services

Sacrocolpopexy, U of VA Health Services

In this case, the treatment involved abdominal sacrocolpopexy, abdominal surgery implanting a surgical mesh to correct POP, not transvaginal repair where a surgeon implants a mesh product through the vagina. Doctors generally agree there are fewer complications with an abdominal approach because the vagina is considered a “clean contaminated” field that may introduce bacteria into the mesh site.

About 225,000 women undergo surgery receiving the permanently implanted polypropylene mesh to hold up a uterus, vagina, rectum or bladder and urethra. Abdominal sacralcolpopexy is considered the most durable surgery but little was known about long-term effectiveness and how additional incontinence surgery using stitches only (Burch urethropexy) would affected the long-term outcome.

Women enrolled in the CARE study (215) had the abdominal sacrocolpopexy procedure between 2002 and 2005. Half had abdominal sacrocolpopexy and the Burch procedure and 111 had the sacrocolpopexy alone.

The results showed the surgery failed to secure the organs one-quarter of the time. Within seven years the prolapsed organs – uterus, vaginal wall or rectum prolapsed through the vagina for 48 percent of women, considered a symptomatic as well as anatomic failure.

Mesh erosion was a problem as well in about 10.5 percent of the patients at seven years.  For 81 percent, there was a return of incontinence among those who did not have a second procedure. For women who did have a second procedure, incontinence returned in 75 percent of the women. The quality-of-life issue of pain did not seem to be among the criteria judged.

“The surgery that is considered to be the most durable and effective for pelvic organ prolapse fails to restore normal anatomy in one out of four women,” said researcher Ingrid Nygaard to Bloomberg. She is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

The study concluded that most women had improved health immediately following surgery but the “fix” is a temporary one. There is no information on how women fared outside of the seven years but the rates of failure increased during the duration of the trial.

Most women are told synthetic surgical mesh is the “gold standard” however this study finds it is not the miracle cure that is promised and the risks may not be worth the benefits.

More on Ingrid Nygaard:

Here is a press release on the study:

JAMA study:

By |2013-05-15T02:02:37+00:00May 15th, 2013|Featured|7 Comments

About the Author:

I’m National News Editor, Jane Akre and I began Mesh Medical Device News Desk aka Mesh News Desk (MND) in the summer of 2011 just after the Food and Drug Administration issued an explicit warning to the public that complications associated with surgical mesh used for prolapse repair (POP) and incontinence (SUI) are NOT rare! That was the starting point for the litigation you see today and thousands of lawsuits have been filed by women whose lives have been altered, some permanently, by the use of this petroleum-based product.


  1. N J Ansted September 23, 2013 at 2:17 am - Reply

    why won’t anyone help those of us who had mesh implanted abdominally? Mine has eroded through the vaginal wall., but lawyers want only TVS

    • Betty September 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm - Reply

      I have wondered the same thing – mine was implanted vaginally, however we have heard so many differing opinions on what mesh can do – there is no standard agreed upon between so many expert Dr.’s. The idea that mesh being abdominally placed, thus skipping the “clean-contaminated” field only refers to infection of the mesh. Others have testified that the arms are to blame, yet there are problems with the meshes with no arms. There are more issues than that. I have not had an infection from mesh (that I know of anyway) yet I’ve had so many eroded areas. I really don’t think the answers are fully there or understood. We are the guniea pigs. The Dr.’s and students who are studying us now should figure this out more fully in the next 20 years or so. Meanwhile, we are hanging in the breeze, suffering and trying to make our way through a very difficult journey not knowing who to trust. The fact that this made it through a loophole of the 510k is just corporations taking advantage the system. Common sense says “don’t go there”, but in the name of greed it was ignored. And is really still being ignored by the media and authorities. I still don’t understand why this cannot be considered criminal.

      • Luanne September 9, 2014 at 6:53 am - Reply

        The media is TOTALLY ignoring this entire wrong doing. This situation is being swept under the rug, and mesh is still being implanted in women. These doctors and pharmaceutical companies should burn in hell – along with the FDA who is allowing these surgeries.

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