Transvaginal mesh or grafts or native tissue repair for vaginal prolapse.

Pelvic organ prolapse is the descent of one or more of the pelvic organs (uterus, vaginal apex, bladder, or bowel) into the vagina. In recent years, surgeons have increasingly used grafts in transvaginal repairs. Graft material can be synthetic or biological. The aim is to reduce prolapse recurrence and surpass the effectiveness of traditional native tissue repair (colporrhaphy) for vaginal prolapse. This is a review update; the previous version was published in 2016.

To determine the safety and effectiveness of transvaginal mesh or biological grafts compared to native tissue repair or other grafts in the surgical treatment of vaginal prolapse.

We searched the Cochrane Incontinence Group Specialised Register, which contains trials identified from the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, and two clinical trials registers (March 2022).

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing different types of vaginal repair (mesh, biological graft, or native tissue).

Two review authors independently selected trials, assessed risk of bias, and extracted data. The primary outcomes were awareness of prolapse, repeat surgery, and recurrent prolapse on examination.

We included 51 RCTs (7846 women). The certainty of the evidence was largely moderate (ranging from very low to moderate). Transvaginal permanent mesh versus native tissue repair Awareness of prolapse at six months to seven years was less likely after mesh repair (risk ratio (RR) 0.83, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.73 to 0.95; I2 = 34%; 17 studies, 2932 women; moderate-certainty evidence). This suggests that if 23% of women are aware of prolapse after native tissue repair, between 17% and 22% will be aware of prolapse after permanent mesh repair. Rates of repeat surgery for prolapse were lower in the mesh group (RR 0.71, 95% CI 0.53 to 0.95; I2 = 35%; 17 studies, 2485 women; moderate-certainty evidence). There was no evidence of a difference between the groups in rates of repeat surgery for incontinence (RR 1.03, 95% CI 0.67 to 1.59; I2 = 0%; 13 studies, 2206 women; moderate-certainty evidence). However, more women in the mesh group required repeat surgery for the combined outcome of prolapse, stress incontinence, or mesh exposure (RR 1.56, 95% CI 1.07 to 2.26; I2 = 54%; 27 studies, 3916 women; low-certainty evidence). This suggests that if 7.1% of women require repeat surgery after native tissue repair, between 7.6% and 16% will require repeat surgery after permanent mesh repair. The rate of mesh exposure was 11.8% and surgery for mesh exposure was 6.1% in women who had mesh repairs. Recurrent prolapse on examination was less likely after mesh repair (RR 0.42, 95% CI 0.32 to 0.55; I2 = 84%; 25 studies, 3680 women; very low-certainty evidence). Permanent transvaginal mesh was associated with higher rates of de novo stress incontinence (RR 1.50, 95% CI 1.19 to 1.88; I2 = 0%; 17 studies, 2001 women; moderate-certainty evidence) and bladder injury (RR 3.67, 95% CI 1.63 to 8.28; I2 = 0%; 14 studies, 1997 women; moderate-certainty evidence). There was no evidence of a difference between the groups in rates of de novo dyspareunia (RR 1.22, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.79; I2 = 27%; 16 studies, 1308 women; moderate-certainty evidence). There was no evidence of a difference in quality of life outcomes; however, there was substantial heterogeneity in the data. Transvaginal absorbable mesh versus native tissue repair There was no evidence of a difference between the two methods of repair at two years for the rate of awareness of prolapse (RR 1.05, 95% CI 0.77 to 1.44; 1 study, 54 women), rate of repeat surgery for prolapse (RR 0.47, 95% CI 0.09 to 2.40; 1 study, 66 women), or recurrent prolapse on examination (RR 0.53, 95% CI 0.10 to 2.70; 1 study, 66 women). The effect of either form of repair was uncertain for bladder-related outcomes, dyspareunia, and quality of life. Transvaginal biological graft versus native tissue repair There was no evidence of a difference between the groups at one to three years for the outcome awareness of prolapse (RR 1.06, 95% CI 0.73 to 1.56; I2 = 0%; 8 studies, 1374 women; moderate-certainty evidence), repeat surgery for prolapse (RR 1.15, 95% CI 0.75 to 1.77; I2 = 0%; 6 studies, 899 women; moderate-certainty evidence), and recurrent prolapse on examination (RR 0.96, 95% CI 0.71 to 1.29; I2 = 53%; 9 studies, 1278 women; low-certainty evidence). There was no evidence of a difference between the groups for dyspareunia or quality of life. Transvaginal permanent mesh versus any other permanent mesh or biological graft vaginal repair Sparse reporting of primary outcomes in both comparisons significantly limited any meaningful analysis.

While transvaginal permanent mesh is associated with lower rates of awareness of prolapse, repeat surgery for prolapse, and prolapse on examination than native tissue repair, it is also associated with higher rates of total repeat surgery (for prolapse, stress urinary incontinence, or mesh exposure), bladder injury, and de novo stress urinary incontinence. While the direction of effects and effect sizes are relatively unchanged from the 2016 version of this review, the certainty and precision of the findings have all improved with a larger sample size. In addition, the clinical relevance of these data has improved, with 10 trials reporting 3- to 10-year outcomes. The risk-benefit profile means that transvaginal mesh has limited utility in primary surgery. Data on the management of recurrent prolapse are of limited quality. Given the risk-benefit profile, we recommend that any use of permanent transvaginal mesh should be conducted under the oversight of the local ethics committee in compliance with local regulatory recommendations. Data are not supportive of absorbable meshes or biological grafts for the management of transvaginal prolapse.

The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. 2024 Mar 13*** epublish ***

Ellen Yeung, Kaven Baessler, Corina Christmann-Schmid, Nir Haya, Zhuoran Chen, Sheila A Wallace, Alex Mowat, Christopher Maher

Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, Australia., Franziskus and St Joseph Hospitals, Berlin, Germany., New Women's Clinic, Lucerne Cantonal Hospital, Lucerne, Switzerland., Rambam Medical Centre, and Ruth and Bruce Rappaport School of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel., St George Hospital, Sydney, Australia., Evidence Synthesis Group, Population Health Sciences Institute, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK., Greenslopes Hospital, Brisbane, Australia., Wesley and Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospitals, Brisbane, Australia.