Long-term results of tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) for the treatment of female urinary stress incontinence

G Chêne, J Amblard, A S Tardieu, J R Escalona, A Viallon, B Fatton, B Jacquetin
European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology 2007, 134 (1): 87-94

OBJECTIVES: Prospective evaluation of outcome and complications over a 5-year period post-treatment of urinary stress incontinence by TVT, and comparison of our results with the reference studies.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: About 94 patients were treated for urinary stress incontinence only by one TVT procedure (single surgical procedure), between April 1997 and December 1998; 68% of patients presented pure urinary stress incontinence and 32% mixed incontinence. We found also a 25.5% rate of sphincter deficiency (UCP < 20 cm H(2)O) in this cohort. Patients were evaluated after 5 years: 52 complete evaluations (clinical, flow measurement with measurement of post-mictional residue, 24h PAD-test, quality of life questionnaire), 30 complete telephone interviews, 12 lost to follow-up (2 patients deceased).

RESULTS: About 87% of the patients had a 5-year follow-up. The success rate was 79.2% overall (84.5% for the pure urinary stress incontinence and 67% for the mixed incontinence cases), and 72.2% for the cases of associated sphincter deficiency. We had only a 13% rate of patients lost to follow-up. More than half of the urinary urgency cases were treated successfully, however with a less satisfactory outcome in cases of bladder instability. The urodynamic exploration appeared to reveal that TVT caused dysuria: 52% of patients had a maximum flowrate below 15 ml/s, but the quality of life was improved, with a 95% rate of satisfaction without functional problems. We observed no late complications such as vaginal erosion or rejection of the prolene; the de novo syndrome was rare, with 8.5% of urinary frequency, 6% of urinary urgency and only 5.7% of invalidating dysuria. We saw no cases of pelvic floor disease after TVT treatment.

DISCUSSION: Our casuistry results are comparable with the reference studies by Scandinavian authors, Rezapour and Ulmsten, confirming the long-term success of the TVT procedure. Concerning the apparently elevated rates of post-TVT dysuria found by urodynamic exploration, a distinction has to be drawn between post-TVT urinary problems (frequent but oligosymptomatic), and true, severe dysuria (rare). However, "dysuria" in the broad sense did not affect the patients' quality of life, and is a reminder of the absolute necessity of meticulous compliance with the correct surgical techniques.

CONCLUSION: Treatment of urinary incontinence by TVT is a reliable, mini-invasive, reproducible technique, almost suitable for outpatients, with no serious complications; it is inexpensive and very successful, including in complicated cases such as sphincter deficiency. All the recent data confirms, with this 5-year follow-up, that the TVT procedure is comparable to the previously gold standard, the Burch colposuspension.

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