The long-term impact of vaginal surgical mesh devices on pain clinic and psychological service referrals, anti-inflammatory testing and pelvic scans in UK primary care: A cohort study with the Clinical Practice Research Datalink.

To examine long-term complications in women with stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP), with and without surgical mesh implants.

Longitudinal open cohort study from 1 April 2006 (or 1 April 2012) to 30 November 2018.

The Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) Gold database, which is linked to Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) inpatient data, the HES Diagnostic Imaging Dataset (DID), Office for National Statistics mortality data and Index of Multiple Deprivation socio-economic status data.

Women aged ≥18 years with a diagnostic SUI/POP Read code.

Rates are estimated using negative binomial regression.

Rates of referrals for: psychological and pain services; urinalysis, C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) testing; and pelvic ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

A cohort of 220 544 women were eligible for inclusion; 74% (n = 162 687) had SUI, 37% (n = 82 123) had POP and 11% (n = 24 266) had both. Rates of psychological referrals and CT scans were lower in women with SUI mesh surgery, but this was offset by higher rates of CRP testing in women with SUI or POP mesh, MRI scans in women with SUI mesh, and urinalysis testing and referrals to pain clinics for women with POP mesh.

Our results suggest a higher burden of morbidity in women with SUI/POP mesh surgery, and that these women may require ongoing follow-up in the primary care setting.

BJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology. 2024 Apr 22 [Epub ahead of print]

Emily McFadden, Carl Heneghan

Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.