Guidance and support for NHS surgeons on tape and mesh implants

Guidance issued to NHS medical directors

Applies to England


Letter from Sir Bruce Keogh

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Guidance has been issued to NHS medical directors to help reduce side effects after surgery of using vaginal tape for stress incontinence and vaginal meshes for pelvic organ prolapse.

Around 13,000 vaginal tape implants are used every year to treat women suffering from stress urinary incontinence, and 1,500 mesh implants for women with pelvic organ prolapse. A small percentage of women have suffered side effects after this type of surgery such as pain and sexual dysfunction.

The Department of Health, clinical groups and the MHRA are working together to make sure that surgeons have all the necessary guidance and support to carry out these operations as safely and effectively as possible, and that women feel  reassured before making decisions about undergoing surgery .  These measures will include developing proposals for a registry for implanted vaginal tapes and meshes to enable surgeons to compare the outcomes of their treatment, building on the voluntary registries already established by the professional associations.

Published 22 November 2012