Preparing for Treatment

Making Your Decision

As with most things in life, this decision has risks and benefits that must be weighed. Non-surgical care options come with low risk but also require daily maintenance and provide only temporary relief. Choosing surgery comes with greater risk but more lasting effects. There are some risks that come with any surgery, including Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) surgery, whether you use your own native tissue or a graft. Risks with POP surgery may include:

  • Bleeding/injury to blood vessels
  • Bladder or bowel injury
  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Nerve or vascular injury
  • Recurrent prolapse
  • Vaginal scarring
  • Narrowing of the vagina
  • Adhesion formation
  • Fistula formation
  • Difficulty with urination or defecation temporarily or permanently
  • Impact on sexual function

Are there any risks with mesh?

Mesh reinforced prolapse repair may not be suitable for every patient and a thorough discussion between you and your doctor will enable both of you to determine if this treatment is right for you. Your medical and surgical history will help determine if a procedure with mesh is right for you. In addition to the complications listed above, there are a few additional complications that can occur when using a mesh graft:

  • Slow healing of mesh, infection, or non-healing
  • Mesh extrusion from the vagina
  • Mesh erosion into adjacent organs
  • Mesh contraction
  • Allergic and/or foreign body reaction which may require full or partial mesh removal

Talk to you doctor about these risks and reactions. It is important that you understand and consider the potential risks of a permanent mesh placement as well as the benefits when choosing the best treatment option for you.

To learn more about the current discussions happening around mesh and understand risks and benefits before you make your individual decision, read our About Mesh section.

Ask your surgeon these 13 questions before you agree to have surgery in which surgical mesh will be used:

  1. Are you planning to use mesh in my surgery?
  2. Why do you think I am a good candidate for surgical mesh?
  3. Why is surgical mesh being chosen for my repair?
  4. What are the alternatives to transvaginal surgical mesh repair, including non-surgical options?
  5. What are the pros and cons of using surgical mesh in my particular case? How likely is it that my repair could be successfully performed without using surgical mesh?
  6. Will my partner be able to feel the surgical mesh during sexual intercourse? What if the surgical mesh erodes through my vaginal wall?
  7. If surgical mesh is to be used, how often have you implanted this particular product? What results have your other patients had with this product?
  8. What can I expect to feel after surgery and for how long?
  9. Which specific side effects should I report to you after the surgery?
  10. What if the mesh surgery doesn’t correct my problem?
  11. If I develop a complication, will you treat it or will I be referred to a specialist experienced with surgical mesh complications?
  12. If I have a complication related to the surgical mesh, how likely is it that the surgical mesh could be removed and what could be the consequences?
  13. If a surgical mesh is to be used, is there patient information that comes with the product and can I have a copy?