Risk Factors for Surgical Mesh Problems

Studies show that approximately 10% of all women suffer mesh erosion within one year after surgery. This figure applies to both synthetic and biological mesh types.

Several key risk factors have been identified as potentially pre-disposing women to suffer erosion of the mesh into the vaginal tissues. These include:

  • Having a hysterectomy at the time of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) surgery
  • Smoking
  • Placement of the mesh through a vaginal approach rather than through an abdominal incision, and other variations in surgical techniques
  • Increasing age
  • Low estrogen levels
  • Size of the mesh implants

According to recent studies, keeping the uterus and using the mesh only for “rectocele” repair (when the rectum pushes through the lower wall of the vagina) seems to carry a decreased risk of surgical mesh problems.

This September, the FDA plans to meet to review the studies evaluating the safety and effectives of mesh inserted through vaginal incisions. The FDA will discuss repair of both POP and SI and also consider banning certain products. Until new guidelines are published, the FDA asks that women (and their doctors) report suspected problems with GYN mesh use to MedWatch.



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