A new report highlights the importance of effective, safe treatments for women with pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). That’s because many of these women will need stress urinary incontinence surgery. The American Urogynecologic Society said about 20.2% of women with POP or SUI will need surgery at some point.
“This means that one out of every five women in the United States will undergo a urogynecologic procedure by the age of 80,” Dr. Jennifer M. Wu, associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, said at the AUS’ annual meeting. “This high rate highlights the public health burden of pelvic floor disorders, exposes the need for improved prevention strategies, and underscores the importance of effective long-term surgical interventions.”
How Mesh Devices Affect Odds of POP, Stress Urinary Incontinence Surgery
The AUS’ analysis of 311,070 women 18 and over who had POP and SUI surgery between 2007-2011 shows a higher risk than previously reported. A more common statistic is 11% of women with POP or SUI face surgery risks, Ob.Gyn. News reported. However, that statistic’s based on 395 women who received surgery in 1995, the source said.
Wu identified several factors that may have increased the risk of surgery since 1995, including “the integration of midurethral slings and vaginal mesh prolapse procedures, regional differences in surgery rates, and the greater number of elderly women.” “Thus, the objective of our study was to estimate the cumulative risk of SUI or POP surgery over a woman’s lifetime until the age of 80,” she said.
Surgery Risks Vary Among POP & SUI Patients
While the cumulative lifetime risk of surgery for SUI and POP combined is 20.2%, Wu said specifically for POP patients, it was 13.7%. For SUI patients, the risk of stress urinary incontinence surgery was 14.5%. As women age, they face a high risk of needing surgery. By the time women who have POP or SUI turn 60, they have a 15.9 percent chance of needing surgery. By age 70, that risk increases to 20.2%, according to the AUS report.
These risk percentages are much higher than other health complications. For example, the lifetime risk of surgery for colon cancer is 8.4%; for lung cancer, it’s 6.3%.
“Granted, incontinence and prolapse are not life-threatening conditions, but this 20% risk highlights how common surgeries are for pelvic floor disorders, despite the fact that they’re widely underrecognized,” said Wu.
The AUS analysis only included women with private health insurance. Therefore, the surgery risks could be different if the uninsured and underinsured were included, Wu said.
FDA Warns Against TVM for Stress Urinary Incontinence Surgery
Transvaginal mesh implants are used to treat women with POP and SUI. In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration reported thousands of women suffered serious device complications. The FDA said mesh complications were not rare, and advised consumers to examine possible alternative treatments for POP and SUI.
Yet, the AUS said the FDA’s intent of its 2011 warning was not to completely restrict the use of surgical mesh or remove the products from the market. The AUS also said it is against any ban of current surgical options for POP and SUI patients.
“The American Urogynecologic Society strongly opposes any restrictions by state or local medical organizations, healthcare systems, or insurance companies which ban currently available surgical options performed by qualified and credentialed surgeons on appropriately informed patients with pelvic floor disorders,” a statement from the nonprofit said.
What You Can Do
If you or a loved one suffered a severe mesh injury, you may qualify for financial compensation from the manufacturer. Start your free transvaginal mesh claim review today. An attorney will contact you shortly to discuss your case.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.