Researchers offer hope to prolapse sufferers

May 17, 2011, CORDIS
Researchers offer hope to prolapse sufferers

Scientists in Scandinavia have found a new way to treat sufferers of pelvic organ prolapse. Presented in the New England Journal of Medicine, their study reveals that the use of synthetic mesh can have a more beneficial effect on patients than traditional surgery. The team, led by the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, says synthetic mesh not only restores genital anatomy but can also provide more efficient symptom relief.

Prolapse means 'to fall out', and in medicine, it is a condition where organs, including the uterus and , fall down or slip out of place. Past studies found that traditional prolapse surgery sometimes fails to pass muster, resulting in less than stellar results for patients. An average of 7,500 prolapse operations are carried out each year in Sweden alone.

This latest study focused on pelvic organ prolapse, a common post-childbirth condition involving the loss of support for the and vagina. The pelvic organs descend and can at times protrude through the . The scientists compared traditional prolapse surgery with a new method based on the of a polypropylene mesh to provide permanent support for the weakened .

They evaluated 389 women who were randomly assigned to a study treatment. A total of 200 women were treated with the transvaginal mesh kit, while the remaining participants underwent traditional colporrhaphy (the surgical repair of a defect in the vaginal wall). The team found that at the end of the first year, the primary outcome was considerably more common in 60.8% of the women treated with transvaginal mesh repair compared with 34.5% of the women who underwent colporrhaphy. Also, mesh-repair surgery decreased the risk of relapse for patients.

But it should be noted that using synthetic mesh can also increase the risk of complications. The rates of intraoperative were greater in the mesh-repair group versus the colporrhaphy group, and bladder perforation rates were 3.5?% in the mesh-repair group compared to 0.5?% in the colporrhaphy group. The surgery also lasted longer for the former, and there were a number of cases of mesh-related problems up to a year post-surgery.

'The new surgical method has distinct advantages over ,' explains Professor Christian Falconer of Karolinska Institutet, a senior consultant at Danderyd Hospital and co-author of the study. 'But the fact that the risk of complications increases means that we must be careful to inform the patient and weigh up the pros and cons of the two methods in every individual case.'

Professor Falconer says the study is significant because it confirms a new treatment principle and establishes the use of a permanent vaginal support as another way to treat pelvic organ prolapse.

But the team says more work is needed on both material and method development so as to help identify patients that can benefit from this treatment and decrease the risk of complications.

Explore further: Synthetic mesh can improve outcome of prolapse surgery

More information: Altman, D., et al. (2011) Anterior colporrhaphy versus transvaginal mesh for pelvic-organ prolapse. N Engl J Med 364: 1826-1836.

Related Stories

Synthetic mesh can improve outcome of prolapse surgery

May 12, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- A Nordic multicentre study, headed by researchers from Karolinska Institutet, shows that pelvic organ prolapse surgery using synthetic mesh can be more effective than traditional surgery. The advantages ...

Pelvic organs given the slip by the protein fibulin-5

April 25, 2011
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a disabling condition that affects almost 50% of women over the age of 50. It occurs when the muscles and ligaments supporting a woman's pelvic organs weaken such that the pelvic organs slip ...

Recommended for you

Research finds new mechanism that can cause the spread of deadly infection

April 20, 2018
Scientists at the University of Birmingham have discovered a unique mechanism that drives the spread of a deadly infection.

Selection of a pyrethroid metabolic enzyme CYP9K1 by malaria control activities

April 20, 2018
Researchers from LSTM, with partners from a number of international institutions, have shown the rapid selection of a novel P450 enzyme leading to insecticide resistance in a major malaria vector.

Study predicts 2018 flu vaccine will have 20 percent efficacy

April 19, 2018
A Rice University study predicts that this fall's flu vaccine—a new H3N2 formulation for the first time since 2015—will likely have the same reduced efficacy against the dominant circulating strain of influenza A as the ...

Low-cost anti-hookworm drug boosts female farmers' physical fitness

April 19, 2018
Impoverished female farm workers infected with intestinal parasites known as hookworms saw significant improvements in physical fitness when they were treated with a low-cost deworming drug. The benefits were seen even in ...

Zika presents hot spots in brains of chicken embryos

April 19, 2018
Zika prefers certain "hot spots" in the brains of chicken embryos, offering insight into how brain development is affected by the virus.

Super-superbug clones invade Gulf States

April 18, 2018
A new wave of highly antibiotic resistant superbugs has been found in the Middle East Gulf States, discovered by University of Queensland researchers.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.