Objective: To analyze inaccuracies in the news media reporting of the 2019 US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban on surgical mesh for transvaginal repair of pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Methods: We queried the NexisUni media database for English-language news articles about “transvaginal mesh” or “FDA” published before and after the ban. Content analysis was based on discussion of the ban, indications for surgical mesh, and assessment of bias. We characterized public interest in transvaginal mesh using Google Trends. Results: Of 290 news articles reviewed, 42 articles were included for analysis. Public interest in transvaginal mesh increased 4-fold after the FDA announcement. While 15 articles (38%) accurately reported that mesh was used in both POP and incontinence repairs, a plurality (18, 43%) only described using mesh for POP. The majority (30, 71%) of articles did not specify that the FDA ban applied to only transvaginal repair of POP and not to incontinence. Despite multiple professional societies affirming the use of mesh for incontinence, only 2 (5%) articles cited these evidence-based recommendations. About half of the articles had an overtly biased tone; articles with an anti-mesh bias were significantly less likely to identify the mesh indications relevant to the ban (P <.01). Conclusion: Seventy percent of news reports about the 2019 FDA ban on transvaginal mesh for POP failed to distinguish between the clinical indications for mesh impacted by the ban. The findings raise concern about patient perceptions of and future access to mesh surgery, regardless of indication.
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