The use of synthetic sub-urethral slings in the treatment of female stress urinary incontinence
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We set out to review the existing literature regarding the use of synthetic suburethral sling products for the treatment of female stress urinary incontinence. Products currently implanted are examined and scrutinized, and evidence regarding their efficacy and complication rates is noted. Additionally, specifics of presently utilized synthetic materials, including construction method and biocompatibility, are explored and directly correlated to currently marketed products. This investigation was undertaken with the use of the Medline database. Studies pertaining to synthetic or surgical mesh, as well as each specific suburethral sling product, are included. Our findings and ultimately our recommendations stem from the preponderance of evidence supporting the continued use of knitted, macroporous polypropelene mesh slings. Several existing marketed products detailed in the study fit this description. Specific reference is made to recent reports of vaginal erosions and deep space infections related to several specific products. A cautionary note is also made regarding the implantation of transobturator sling products currently marketed without the necessary pre-market testing, potentially placing the public at risk. From the currently available literature on biomaterials, it seems clear that knitted macroporous polypropylene is the material of choice for suburethral implantation. With respect to the means and techniques by which these mesh materials are suburethrally implanted, the surgeon's choice often dictates which method is used, but recent experience has demonstrated that the transobturator approach can be equally as effective as the traditional tension-free vaginal tape, with less-associated morbidity. Ongoing randomized controlled trials will further clarify and distinguish between methods.
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