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Association between method of pelvic organ prolapse repair involving the vaginal apex and re-operation: a population-based, retrospective cohort study

Wu YM, Reid J, Chou Q, MacMillan B, Leong Y, Welk B. Int Urogynecol J. 2019; 30(4):537-44. Epub 2018 Oct 16. DOI: 10.1007/s00192-018-3792-2.

Introduction and Hypothesis — Vaginal apical suspension is essential for the surgical treatment of pelvic organ prolapse (POP). We aim to evaluate whether the method of apical repair is associated with different re-operation rates for POP recurrence or surgical complications.

Methods — Population-based, retrospective cohort study of all Ontario women receiving primary apical POP repairs from 2003 to 2015. Primary exposure was the method of apical POP repair. Primary outcome was re-operation for recurrent POP, and secondary outcomes were surgical procedures for genito-intestinal (GI) or genitourinary (GU) complications, fistula repair, and mesh revision or removal.

Results — Forty-three thousand four hundred fifty-eight women were included. Overall, the number of mesh-based apical repairs decreased over time, while the number of native-tissue repairs slightly increased (p < 0.001). Multivariable Cox proportional hazards (Cox PH) analysis demonstrated a significant increase in repeat POP operations for transvaginal mesh apical repairs (adjusted HR 1.28 [95% CI: 1.10-1.48]), but not in abdominal mesh repairs (adjusted HR 0.96 [95% CI: 0.81-1.13]) compared with vaginal native tissue apical repairs. Overall risk of repeat surgery for fistulas or GI and GU complications remained low (< 0.5%). Risk of mesh removal or revision was 11.5-11.9%, with no difference between abdominal versus vaginal mesh on multivariable analysis (adjusted HR 0.99 [95% CI: 0.78-1.26]).

Conclusions — Re-operation for recurrent POP is highest in transvaginal mesh apical repairs; however, this risk did not differ between abdominal mesh and vaginal native tissue apical repairs. GI and GU re-operations are rare. There is no difference in mesh removal or revision rates between abdominal and vaginal mesh repairs.