Objective — To measure the proportion of women with transvaginal prolapse mesh complications and their association with surgeon volume.
Methods — We conducted a retrospective, population-based cohort study of all women who underwent a mesh-based prolapse procedure using administrative data (hospital procedure and physician billing records) between 2002 and 2013 in Ontario, Canada. The primary outcome was surgical revision of the mesh. Primary exposure was surgeon volume: high (greater than the 75th percentile, requiring a median of five [interquartile range 5-6] procedures per year) and very high (greater than the 90th percentile, requiring a median of 13 [interquartile range 11-14] procedures per year) volume mesh implanters were identified each year. Primary analysis was an adjusted Cox proportional hazards model.
Results — A total of 5,488 women underwent mesh implantation by 1 of 368 unique surgeons. Median follow-up time was 5.4 (interquartile range 3.0-8.0) years. We found that 218 women (4.0%) underwent mesh reoperation a median of 1.17 (interquartile range 0.58-2.90) years after implantation. The hazard of reoperation for complications was only lower for patients of very high-volume surgeons (3.0% [145/3,001] compared with 4.8% [73/2,447], adjusted hazards ratio 0.59, 95% confidence interval 0.40-0.86). In multivariable modeling, younger age, concomitant hysterectomy, blood transfusion, and increased medical comorbidity were all associated with vaginal mesh reoperation.
Conclusion — Approximately 5% of women who underwent mesh-based prolapse surgery required reoperation for a mesh complication within 10 years. The risk of reoperation was lowest for surgeons performing 14 or more procedures per year.