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Recurrent stress urinary incontinence after synthetic mid-urethral sling procedures

Walsh, Colin A.

Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology: October 2011 - Volume 23 - Issue 5 - p 355–361
doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e32834a9282
Urogynecology: Edited by Narender Bhatia

Purpose of review Synthetic mid-urethral slings (MUSs) have been widely adopted for female stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Practitioners are encountering increasing numbers of women with recurrent SUI after a failed MUS. Several studies over the past 18 months have reported outcomes for secondary continence procedures in this context and form the basis of this review.

Recent findings Expert consensus supports a trial of conservative therapy for recurrent SUI, although a sound evidence base is lacking. As regards repeat surgical intervention, retrospective studies on repeat synthetic MUSs have demonstrated medium-term cure rates of 60–70%, which is lower than that achieved with primary surgery. Secondary transobturator tape appears inferior to secondary retropubic tape in women with intrinsic sphincteric deficiency. Promising early results have been reported with spiral slings and the adjustable continence procedures, although these interventions are technically more challenging and longer-term follow-up is warranted. Artificial urinary sphincters show high efficacy rates for severe, refractory SUI, although complication rates are higher in women with prior failed MUS.

Summary Repeat synthetic MUSs are likely to form the mainstay of secondary continence procedures presently. Longer-term follow-up of promising newer modalities, including adjustable continence therapies, is required. Above all, there is an urgent need for good quality, prospective data to guide practitioners in this growing clinical challenge.

Department of Urogynecology, St George Hospital, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Correspondence to Dr Colin Walsh, Department of Urogynecology, St George Hospital, Sydney, NSW 2217, Australia Tel: +61 2 9113 2272; e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.