The use of graft materials in vaginal pelvic floor surgery

M Huebner, Y Hsu, D E Fenner
International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 2006, 92 (3): 279-88

OBJECTIVE: To review recent literature on graft materials used in vaginal pelvic floor surgery.

METHODS: A Pubmed-search ("anterior vaginal wall" or "cystocele"), ("posterior vaginal wall" or "rectocele") and ("vaginal vault" or "pelvic prolapse") and ("mesh" or "erosion" or "graft" or "synthetic") from 1995 to 2005 was performed; recent reviews [Birch C. The use of prosthetics in pelvic reconstructive surgery. Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol 2005;19:979-91 [1]; Maher C, Baessler K. Surgical management of anterior vaginal wall prolapse: an evidence-based literature review. Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct 2005 (May 25) [Electronic Publication] [2]; Maher C, Baessler K. Surgical management of posterior vaginal wall prolapse: an evidence-based literature review. Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct 2006;17:84-8 [3]; Altman D, Mellgren A, Zetterstrom J. Rectocele repair using biomaterial augmentation: current documentation and clinical experience. Obstet Gynecol Surv 2005;60:753-60 [4] were added.

RESULT: There are few prospective randomized trials that prove the benefit of implanting grafts in vaginal pelvic floor surgery. Many articles are retrospective case series with small sample sizes or incomplete outcome variables. Serious complications such as erosions are often not mentioned. Inconsistent or unclear criteria for anatomic cure make it difficult to compare outcomes. Quality of life issues such as dyspareunia, urinary or bowel symptoms are often ignored.

CONCLUSION: Due to a lack of well-designed prospective randomized trials, recommendations for using graft materials in vaginal reconstructive surgery cannot be made. At this time, grafts should have limited use in a carefully selected patient population.

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