Transvaginal mesh complications: Get the facts

Concerned about transvaginal mesh complications associated with treatments for pelvic floor disorders? Here's what you need to know.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you're a woman who has a pelvic floor disorder, you've likely heard of treatments involving transvaginal mesh. However, reports about complications might have you confused or hesitant to seek treatment. Understand the concerns about transvaginal mesh and what they might mean for you.

What is surgical mesh?

Surgical mesh is a medical device that is used to provide extra support when repairing weakened or damaged tissue. Most surgical mesh devices are made from synthetic materials or animal tissue.

How is surgical mesh used to treat pelvic floor disorders?

Surgical mesh can be used to treat:

  • Pelvic organ prolapse (POP). When the muscles and ligaments supporting a woman's pelvic organs weaken, the pelvic organs can slip out of place (prolapse). To treat POP, surgical mesh can be implanted to reinforce the weakened vaginal wall. Surgery can be done through the abdomen (transabdominal) or through the vagina (transvaginal).
  • Stress urinary incontinence (SUI). This is the unintentional loss of urine due to a physical movement or activity — such as coughing, sneezing, running or heavy lifting — that puts pressure (stress) on your bladder. Surgical mesh can be implanted through the vagina to support the urethra or bladder neck. This is known as a midurethral sling or a mesh sling procedure.
Aug. 09, 2014 See more In-depth