JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Surgical excision of eroded mesh after prior abdominal sacrocolpopexy.

OBJECTIVE: We previously described an endoscopic-assisted transvaginal mesh excision technique. This study compares surgical outcomes after transvaginal mesh excision vs endoscopic-assisted transvaginal mesh excision. In addition, we reviewed our postoperative outcomes with excision via laparotomy.

STUDY DESIGN: This was an inclusive retrospective analysis of patients presenting to our institution from 1997 to 2006 for surgical management of vaginal erosion of permanent mesh after sacrocolpopexy. Three techniques were utilized: transvaginal, endoscopic-assisted transvaginal, and laparotomy. For the patients undergoing transvaginal excision, data recorded included number and type of excisions performed, number of prior excisions performed at outside facilities, intraoperative and postoperative complications (including blood transfusions, pelvic abscess, or bowel complications), use of postoperative antibiotics, persistent symptoms of vaginal bleeding and discharge at follow-up, and demographic characteristics. The intraoperative and postoperative complications and the postoperative symptoms were recorded for the laparotomy cases.

RESULTS: Thirty-one patients underwent transvaginal mesh excision during this time period: 17 endoscopic-assisted transvaginal and 14 transvaginal without endoscope assistance. In addition, a total of 7 patients underwent abdominal excision via laparotomy. Comparison of the 2 vaginal methods revealed no difference in the demographics or success rate, with success defined as no symptoms at follow-up. Endoscopic-assisted transvaginal excision was successful in 7 of 17 patients and transvaginal without endoscopic assistance in 9 of 13 patients (1 patient excluded for lack of follow-up data) for a total vaginal success rate of 53.3%. No intraoperative and only minor postoperative complications occurred with either vaginal method. Three patients underwent 3 vaginal attempts to achieve complete symptom resolution. The average follow-up time for the entire vaginal group was 14 months. Seven patients ultimately required abdominal excision and all had symptom resolution, however, not without complications. Two patients had bowel injury during lysis of adhesions requiring bowel resection in 1 case and repair in another, 1 had a postoperative wound infection with breakdown, 1 was readmitted for postoperative fever requiring antibiotics, and 1 had an acute coronary syndrome requiring transfer to the cardiology service.

CONCLUSION: Transvaginal excision of mesh with or without endoscopy appears to be a safe and less invasive method for excision of eroded vaginal mesh after prior abdominal sacrocolpopexy. Up to 3 vaginal excision attempts may be necessary to achieve symptom resolution, and complete removal of mesh will likely improve outcomes with the transvaginal technique. Although abdominal excision can be considered the gold standard for excision of eroded mesh, it is not without potentially increased morbidity.

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