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Mesh Alternatives

From the Pelvic Floor Articles List

Alternatives to synthetic meshI don’t want my surgeon to use mesh in my prolapse repair. How do they do a prolapse repair without mesh? How successful is mesh-free repair?

Due to a recent FDA warning about possible complications from pelvic floor repair surgeries using synthetic mesh or tape, many doctors and patients are shying away from its use. Though synthetic mesh is quite effective for other types of surgeries, such as hernia repairs, the complication rate from mesh use in pelvic organ prolapse (POP) repairs is calling its use into question for gynecological surgeries.

Though there has been a great deal of success using human (cadaver) or porcine (pig) fascia (connective tissue) to create biomesh, there is a slight risk of tissue rejection. Therefore, instead of synthetic mesh or biomesh from outside sources, some surgeons will propose using the patient’s own fascia to fashion an organ sling to reinforce stitching. The fascia can be harvested from a thigh or the abdomen during the POP repair surgery. The surgeon removes a narrow strip of tissue several inches long from which to create a sling for the bladder. The surgeon anchors the sling to strong tissues in the patient’s pelvis at either end, forming a tension-free “hammock” to help hold up the bladder. Since the sling is made of the patient’s own tissue, there is no risk of rejection. And since it is not a synthetic material, erosion into the vagina is unlikely as well.

Other doctors will opt to perform POP repairs with stitches only, using no slings or reinforcing materials at all. Though this method carries the risk of stitches failing to sufficiently support the healing pelvic structures or from the reoccurrence of prolapse years later, it has fewer overall complications than sling and mesh methods as a general rule.

Some HysterSisters have had each type of repair performed report being satisfied with the outcome, while others have suffered complications and further surgeries. Ultimately, you will want to research your options, discuss those options with a urogynecology specialist, and seek a second opinion before making your decision. Much of it will depend on your specific prolapse type, severity, and symptoms. Also important is your surgeon’s experience and comfort level with the method you choose. Note that, while complications from mesh repairs are no longer considered to be “rare” by the FDA, the great majority of women who do get POP repairs using mesh do have satisfactory outcomes. If your doctor insists on its use for your repair and you are still uncomfortable, just seek a second or third opinion to satisfy your concerns before committing to it, and move on to a different surgeon if you decide against mesh after all.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

08-29-2011 - 12:41 AM


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Options to Hysterectomy
Treatment Alternatives
Pre-Op Hysterectomy
Post-Op Hysterectomy
Separate Surgeries
Hormone and Menopause
Intimacy after Hysterectomy
Pelvic Floor
Separate Surgeries
Fitness after Hysterectomy
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