Purpose: Various materials have been used for pubovaginal slings to correct female stress urinary incontinence. Use of synthetic materials provides a theoretical advantage in that no graft harvesting is necessary. Major risks of synthetic material use are erosion and infection of the sling. We report on erosion of woven polyester slings treated with pressure injected bovine collagen (ProteGen) which required removal. Materials and Methods: Office records of patients who had ProteGen slings removed at 5 centers during the last 24 months were retrospectively reviewed. Presenting symptoms, interval between sling placement and removal, subsequent procedures and continence status following sling removal were evaluated. Results: A total of 34 women required removal of the polyester sling secondary to erosion, infection or pain. The most common presenting complaints were delayed vaginal discharge in 21 patients (62%), vaginal pain or pressure in 21 (62%), suprapubic pain in 11 (32%) and recurrent urinary tract infection in 5 (15%) at a mean of 7.95 months (range 1 to 22) after sling placement. Of the patients 17 (50%) had vaginal erosion only, 7 (20%) isolated urethral erosion and 6 (17%) urethrovaginal fistulas. In 4 patients no erosion was obvious but slings were removed secondary to vaginal pain. Before sling removal 16 patients (47%) were totally dry, 13 (38%) had some degree of urinary incontinence and 3 (8%) had retention. Following sling removal 7 patients (20%) remained dry, 25 (74%) had mild to severe stress urinary incontinence with or without urgency and urge incontinence, and 2 (6%) are pending followup. Conclusions: Woven polyester slings treated with pressure injected bovine collagen are prone to erosion. Although the ProteGen sling was recalled in January 1999, patients who have had the sling placed must be followed closely.
- Urinary incontinence
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