Cochrane Summaries

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Minimally invasive synthetic suburethral sling operations for stress urinary incontinence in women.  

Ogah J, Cody JD, Rogerson L
Published Online: 
20 January 2010

Stress urinary incontinence (involuntary leakage of urine on effort, or exertion, or on sneezing or coughing or laughing) is the commonest form of incontinence in women and reduces their quality of life. One in three women over the age of 18 years will be affected by stress urinary incontinence. Over the years surgery has become less invasive but there are many different types of operations. Minimally invasive synthetic suburethral sling operations are effective and relatively safe with cure rates of about 80% in the short term. They are also suitable for women who have had unsuccessful previous incontinence surgery. There is some evidence to suggest that operations using certain types of tape materials (type 1 meshes) are more effective with fewer complications (such as infections and tape erosions into the vagina or urethra) than other types. There are two ways of carrying out these operations, either behind the pubic bone or through the groin. Those passing behind the pubic bone are more effective and longer follow-up results are available, but they result in more problems with passing urine after operation and more cases of bladder injury. A major limitation is that long term follow-up data for the effectiveness of many of these procedures are lacking.