From the Journals

ACOG updates guidance on pelvic organ prolapse



Using polypropylene mesh to augment surgical repair of anterior vaginal wall prolapse improves anatomic and some subjective outcomes, compared with native tissue repair, but it also comes with increased morbidity, according to new guidance from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

When using polypropylene mesh for anterior POP repair, 11% of patients develop mesh erosion, of which 7% require surgical correction, according to the updated practice bulletin (Obstet Gynecol. 2017;130:e234-50).

“Referral to an obstetrician-gynecologist with appropriate training and experience, such as a female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery specialist, is recommended for surgical treatment of prolapse mesh complications,” ACOG and AUGS wrote.

The practice bulletin updates the recommendations on mesh based on a recent systematic review and meta-analysis that concluded that biological graft repair and absorbable mesh offered minimal benefits compared with native tissue repair, and did not significantly reduce rates of prolapse awareness or repeat surgery (Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Nov 30;11:CD004014).

Porcine dermis graft, which was used in most of the studies, did not significantly reduce rates of anterior prolapse recurrence compared with native tissue repair. Use of polypropylene mesh also tends to prolong operating times and causes more blood loss than native tissue anterior repair, and is associated with an elevated combined risk of stress urinary incontinence, mesh erosion, and repeat surgery for prolapse, the review concluded.

“Uterosacral and sacrospinous ligament suspension for apical POP with native tissue are equally effective surgical treatments of POP, with comparable anatomic, functional, and adverse outcomes,” the authors wrote in the practice bulletin.

Neither synthetic mesh nor biologic grafts improve outcomes of transvaginal repair of posterior vaginal wall prolapse, they added. As an alternative to surgery, most women can be successfully fitted with a pessary and clinicians should offer them this option, the practice bulletin stated. In up to 9% of cases, pessaries cause local devascularization or erosion, in which case they should be removed for 2-4 weeks while the patient undergoes local estrogen therapy.

Although POP is common and benign, symptomatic cases undermine quality of life by causing vaginal bulge and pressure and problems voiding, defecating, and during sexual activity. Consequently, about 300,000 women in the United States undergo surgery for POP every year. By 2050, population aging in the United States will lead to about a 50% rise in the number of women with POP, according to the practice bulletin.

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