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FDA Warning: Surgical Mesh May Not Be Best Route

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a warning regarding serious complications associated with transvaginal placement of surgical mesh for pelvic organ prolapse. Here's what you need to know: 

Who's affected
Patients who've undergone surgical repair for either pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary incontinence (SUI) have suffered serious complications from transvaginal mesh. POP occurs when pelvic organs bulge (or prolapse) into the vagina and is the result of stretched or weakened tissues. SUI involves a leakage of urine during physical activities like exercising or laughing. Transvaginal mesh is often used in surgical treatment for both POP and SUI, although there are much safer and similarly effective alternatives.

The Problem
According to the FDA's warning: "serious complications associated with surgical mesh for transvaginal repair of POP are not rare."

The FDA also explained that "it is not clear that transvaginal POP repair with mesh is more effective than traditional non-mesh repair in all patients with POP and it may expose patients to a greater risk."

The FDA reports that "erosion of mesh through the vagina is the most common and consistently reported mesh-related complication from transvaginal POP surgeries," which "can require multiple surgeries to repair and can be debilitating for some women."