TVT Mesh Removal Treatment
Many thousands of women have been affected by TVT mesh complications, causing a great deal of pain and distress. As well as the widely recognised problems of TVT mesh, there is a shortage of UK surgeons who have the skills to remove the mesh when this is advised, to offer a safe and effective alternative to a TVT sling.
Our consultant urologist Mohammed Belal is one of a small number of surgeons able to provide not only TVT mesh removal but also to offer a safe and effective alternative, creating a sling from the patient’s own tissue. Mr Belal is currently training other surgeons in these techniques and patients travel from across the UK for specialist help at our clinic. One patient, Joanne Walker, who travelled from the north-west, describes her experience here.
TVT mesh complications
Between 2006 and 2016, an estimated 10,000 women in the UK had a TVT mesh implant each year. The principle is fitting a sling to sit under the bladder, supporting a weakened bladder (if the principal problem is stress incontinence) and keeping organs in place (if the principal problem is prolapse). There is some variation in the shape of slings (or hammocks) and in some cases, transobturator tape (TVTO) was used rather than mesh, which is made from a plastic called polypropylene.
It is widely accepted that many women have suffered TVT mesh complications. Some reports suggest one in 15 women have required TVT mesh removal surgery, although of course this only shows the number who have been able to find help. The real figure of women experiencing TVT mesh complications could be much higher, with many struggling to find help and in some cases, their symptoms being poorly recognised or understood. These symptoms can be extremely difficult and debilitating.
TVT mesh erosion symptoms:
- Repeated bladder infections
- Pain in the buttocks and lower back area
- Pain during sex
- A ‘dragging’ feeling inside the vagina
- Unexplained bleeding
What are the solutions for women experiencing TVT mesh complications?
We can provide specialist help for you. It is important to say that the process will take time but we have extensive experience of supporting women and finding effective solutions. The first step is establishing exactly what is causing pain and complications for you; to do this, we carry out a number of assessments which may include a CT scan of the bladder, blood and urine tests.
If we proceed to TVT mesh removal surgery, it is important to bear in mind there is recovery time from this procedure and relief from TVT erosion symptoms may not be immediate. Inflammation will take weeks and sometimes months to settle down and if there is nerve damage, it will take time for this to improve. TVT mesh removal surgery recovery time is several months and for this reason, we do not proceed to the second operation, creating a natural sling from your body’s own tissue, until approximately six months after TVT mesh removal surgery.
About pubovaginal slings and how they work
Creating a pubovaginal sling from the body’s own tissue is, in fact, an older operation than using TVT mesh. When mesh was introduced, it seemed to offer a simpler, quicker operation and quickly replaced autologous (using the patient’s own tissue) pubovaginal approaches. Our surgeon Mohammed Belal was one of only a small number of surgeons in the UK who continued to undertake the pubovaginal approach, maintaining skills in this area.
The tissue used to create an autologous sling is taken from your abdomen (tummy) area. The amount of tissue required is small (8cm by 1.5 cm). The pubovaginal sling is placed at the mid-urethra position.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of pubovaginal slings?
- One key advantage of the autologous pubovaginal sling is there is almost no risk of erosion or inflammation caused by foreign body reaction because your own tissue is being used.
- The recovery time from autologous pubovaginal sling surgery is a little longer than from TVT mesh surgery because there will be some soreness in the abdomen area where the tissue was originally taken and the incisions required will be a little larger.
Read about a patient’s experience of TVT mesh removal surgery and recovery here.
We can provide specialist help for you. Contact us for more information regarding our treatments or to inquire about an appointment.
“When I speak with patients experiencing TVT mesh complications, I am very honest with them: we have the expertise to help but it will take time. We undertake TVT mesh removal then allow time for recovery before the next procedure and after both procedures, symptoms may take a while to settle. But we do have the expertise to help you and find lasting solutions.”