Diagnosis and management of complications following pelvic organ prolapse surgery using a synthetic mesh: French national guidelines for clinical practice.

Complications associated with pelvic organ prolapse (POP) surgery using a synthetic non-absorbable mesh are uncommon (<5%) but may be severe and may hugely diminish the quality of life of some women. In drawing up these multidisciplinary clinical practice recommendations, the French National Authority for Health (Haute Autorité de santé, HAS) conducted an exhaustive review of the literature concerning the diagnosis, prevention, and management of complications associated with POP surgery using a synthetic mesh. Each recommendation for practice was allocated a grade (A,B or C; or expert opinion (EO)), which depends on the level of evidence (clinical practice guidelines).

Each patient must be informed concerning the risks associated with POP surgery (EO).

Vaginal infiltration using a vasoconstrictive solution is not recommended during POP surgery by the vaginal route (grade C). The placement of vaginal packing is not recommended following POP surgery by the vaginal route (grade C). During laparoscopic sacral colpopexy, when the promontory seems highly dangerous or when severe adhesions prevent access to the anterior vertebral ligament, alternative surgical techniques should be discussed per operatively, including colpopexy by lateral mesh laparoscopic suspension, uterosacral ligament suspension, open abdominal mesh surgery, or surgery by the vaginal route (EO).

When a bladder injury is diagnosed, bladder repair by suturing is recommended, using a slow resorption suture thread, plus monitoring of the permeability of the ureters (before and after bladder repair) when the injury is located at the level of the trigone (EO). When a bladder injury is diagnosed, after bladder repair, a prosthetic mesh (polypropylene or polyester material) can be placed between the repaired bladder and the vagina, if the quality of the suturing is good. The recommended duration of bladder catheterization following bladder repair in this context of POP mesh surgery is from 5 to 10 days (EO).

After ureteral repair, it is possible to continue sacral colpopexy and place the mesh if it is located away from the ureteral repair (EO).

Regardless of the approach, when a rectal injury occurs, a posterior mesh should not be placed between the rectum and the vagina wall (EO). Concerning the anterior mesh, it is recommended to use a macroporous monofilament polypropylene mesh (EO). A polyester mesh is not recommended in this situation (EO).

After vaginal wall repair, an anterior or a posterior microporous polypropylene mesh can be placed, if the quality of the repair is found to be satisfactory (EO). A polyester mesh should not be used after vaginal wall repair (EO).

Regardless of the surgical approach, intravenous antibiotic prophylaxis is recommended (aminopenicillin + beta-lactamase inhibitor: 30 min before skin incision +/- repeated after 2 h if surgery lasts longer) (EO). When spondylodiscitis is diagnosed following sacral colpopexy, treatment should be discussed by a multidisciplinary group, including especially spine specialists (rheumatologists, orthopedists, neurosurgeons) and infectious disease specialists (EO). When a pelvic abscess occurs following synthetic mesh sacral colpopexy, it is recommended to carry out complete mesh removal as soon as possible, combined with collection of intraoperative bacteriological samples, drainage of the collection and targeted antibiotic therapy (EO). Non-surgical conservative management with antibiotic therapy may be an option (EO) in certain conditions (absence of signs of sepsis, macroporous monofilament polypropylene type 1 mesh, prior microbiological documentation and multidisciplinary consultation for the choice of type and duration of antibiotic therapy), associated with close monitoring of the patient.

Peritoneal closure is recommended after placement of a synthetic mesh by the abdominal approach (EO).

Preoperative urodynamics is recommended in women presenting with urinary symptoms (bladder outlet obstruction symptoms, overactive bladder syndrome or incontinence) (EO). It is recommended to remove the bladder catheter at the end of the procedure or within 48 h after POP surgery (grade B). Bladder emptying and post-void residual should be checked following POP surgery, before discharge (EO). When postoperative urine retention occurs after POP surgery, it is recommended to carry out indwelling catheterization and to prefer intermittent self-catheterization (EO).

Before POP surgery, the patient should be asked about risk factors for prolonged and chronic postoperative pain (pain sensitization, allodynia, chronic pelvic or non-pelvic pain) (EO). Concerning the prevention of postoperative pain, it is recommended to carry out a pre-, per- and postoperative multimodal pain treatment (grade B). The use of ketamine intraoperatively is recommended for the prevention of chronic postoperative pelvic pain, especially for patients with risk factors (preoperative painful sensitization, allodynia, chronic pelvic or non-pelvic pain) (EO). Postoperative prescription of opioids should be limited in quantity and duration (grade C). When acute neuropathic pain (sciatalgia or pudendal neuralgia) resistant to level I and II analgesics occurs following sacrospinous fixation, a reintervention is recommended for suspension suture removal (EO). When chronic postoperative pain occurs after POP surgery, it is recommended to systematically seek arguments in favor of neuropathic pain with the DN4 questionnaire (EO). When chronic postoperative pelvic pain occurs after POP surgery, central sensitization should be identified since it requires a consultation in a chronic pain department (EO). Concerning myofascial pain syndrome (clinical pain condition associated with increased muscle tension caused by myofascial trigger points), when chronic postoperative pain occurs after POP surgery, it is recommended to examine the levator ani, piriformis and obturator internus muscles, so as to identify trigger points on the pathway of the synthetic mesh (EO). Pelvic floor muscle training with muscle relaxation is recommended when myofascial pain syndrome is associated with chronic postoperative pain following POP surgery (EO). After failure of pelvic floor muscle training (3 months), it is recommended to discuss surgical removal of the synthetic mesh, during a multidisciplinary discussion group meeting (EO). Partial removal of synthetic mesh is indicated when a trigger point is located on the pathway of the mesh (EO). Total removal of synthetic mesh should be discussed during a multidisciplinary discussion group meeting when diffuse (no trigger point) chronic postoperative pain occurs following POP surgery, with or without central sensitization or neuropathic pain syndromes (EO).

When de novo postoperative dyspareunia occurs after POP surgery, surgical removal of the mesh should be discussed (EO).

To reduce the risk of vaginal mesh exposure, when hysterectomy is required during sacral colpopexy, subtotal hysterectomy is recommended (grade C). When asymptomatic vaginal macroporous monofilament polypropylene mesh exposure occurs, systematic imaging is not recommended. When vaginal polyester mesh exposure occurs, pelvic +/- lumbar MRI (EO) should be used to look for an abscess or spondylodiscitis, given the greater risk of infection associated with this type of material. When asymptomatic vaginal mesh exposure of less than 1 cm2 occurs in a woman with no sexual intercourse, the patient should be offered observation (no treatment) or local estrogen therapy (EO). However, if the patient wishes, partial excision of the mesh can be offered. When asymptomatic vaginal mesh exposure of more than 1 cm2 occurs or if the woman has sexual intercourse, or if it is a polyester prosthesis, partial mesh excision, either immediately or after local estrogen therapy, should be offered (EO). When symptomatic vaginal mesh exposure occurs, but without infectious complications, surgical removal of the exposed part of the mesh by the vaginal route is recommended (EO), and not systematic complete excision of the mesh. Following sacral colpopexy, complete removal of the mesh (by laparoscopy or laparotomy) is only required in the presence of an abscess or spondylodiscitis (EO). When vaginal mesh exposure recurs after a first reoperation, the patient should be treated by an experienced team specialized in this type of complication (EO).

For women presenting with vaginal exposure to non-absorbable suture thread following POP surgery with mesh reinforcement, the suture thread should be removed by the vaginal route (EO). Removal of the surrounding mesh is only recommended when vaginal mesh exposure or associated abscess is diagnosed.

When bladder mesh exposure occurs, removal of the exposed part of the mesh is recommended (grade B). Both alternatives (total or partial mesh removal) should be discussed with the patient and should be debated during a multidisciplinary discussion group meeting (EO).

European journal of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology. 2024 Jan 17 [Epub ahead of print]

Xavier Deffieux, Marie-Aimée Perrouin-Verbe, Sandrine Campagne-Loiseau, Laurence Donon, Amélie Levesque, Jérome Rigaud, Nadja Stivalet, Aurélien Venara, Thibault Thubert, Adrien Vidart, Pierre-Olivier Bosset, Christine Revel-Delhom, Jean-Philippe Lucot, Jean François Hermieu

Université Paris-Saclay, AP-HP, Hôpital Antoine Béclère, Service de gynécologie obstétrique, Clamart F-92140, France. Electronic address: ., Université de Nantes, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nantes, Service d'urologie, Nantes F-44000, France., Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Clermont Ferrand, Service de gynécologie obstétrique, Clermont-Ferrand F-63000, France., Uropole, Service d'urologie, Bayonne F-64100, France., Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Nantes, Service d'urologie, Nantes F-44093, France., Université Paris-Cité, AP-HP, Hôpital Bichat, Service d'urologie, Paris F-75017, France., Université d'Angers, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire d'Angers, Service de chirurgie digestive, Angers F-49000, France., Université de Nantes, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nantes, Service de gynécologie-obstétrique, Nantes F-44000, France., Hôpital Foch, Service d'urologie, Suresnes F-92150, France., Haute autorité de santé. 93218 Saint-Denis, France., Université catholique de Lille, Service de gynécologie-obstétrique, Lille F-59000, France.