Listening to Women: A Qualitative Analysis of Experiences after Complications from Mesh Mid-urethral Sling Surgery

Published:November 13, 2020DOI:


      To gain a detailed understanding of women's experiences after undergoing revision surgery for mesh mid-urethral sling (MUS) complications, qualitatively organize those experiences, and present insights as potential springboards for future research.


      We conducted a series of semistructured focus groups and interviews of patients who had undergone mesh MUS revision surgery at a single tertiary referral institution. Discussions were recorded, transcribed, de-identified, and analyzed using deductive and inductive content analysis. Two researchers independently performed line-by-line coding and 2 additional researchers reviewed the codes and transcripts as an audit.


      Nineteen women participated in the study. Complications from mesh MUS surgery impacted participants psychologically, socially, sexually, and physically. Participants recounted that risks and alternatives to MUS surgery were understated during the informed consent process whereas benefits were overstated. Participants shared insights into negative and positive ways surgeons responded to postoperative complications and how their experiences impacted the patient-surgeon relationship.


      The impact of complications from mesh MUS surgery is broad and can involve multiple domains of a woman's life. Improved pre-operative patient preparedness, empathetic response toward patients who present with complications, prompt referral to surgeons with experience in mesh MUS complications and multidisciplinary care will likely improve the patient experience and can serve as foci for future studies.
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