Vol 83, No 10 (2012)

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Bladder injury during sling operation in the treatment of SUI – review of literature and case report

Krzysztof Bar, Tomasz Rechberger, Konrad Futyma, Krzysztof Gałczyński
Ginekol Pol 2012;83(10).


Introduction: Sling operations have been performed for over 15 years. In recent years these operations have become the gold standard in the treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) due to their efficacy, safety and low invasiveness. Approximately 4% of women will undergo a surgery for SUI in the course of their life. As with any surgical intervention, there may be some technical problems, as well as intra- and postoperative complications, the most common of which is bladder injury. Other complications encountered during mid-urethral slings procedures include bleeding (retropubic or vaginal hematomas), urethral perforation, urinary tract infections, postoperative vaginal or urethral erosions, bowel perforation, chronic pelvic pain, wound infection, nerve injury, transient and persistent voiding dysfunction such as de novo urgency, incomplete bladder emptying or urinary retention. Below we present a case of a patient with diagnosed vesicovaginal fistula after sling operation (TVT-tension-free vaginal tape). Upon admission the patient reported dysuria, persistent urinary leakage and abnormal, abundant vaginal discharge. Objectives: Case report and review of literature concerning surgical treatment of stress urinary incontinence and its complications. Materials and Methods: Analysis of medical documentation of the patient treated at the Second Department of Gynecology, Medical University of Lublin. Review of abstracts or papers in the Medline database related to surgical treatment of urinary incontinence and its complications. Conclusions: Bladder perforation is one of the most common complications of the retropubic approach for MUS placement. The presence of mesh within the bladder may arise from direct bladder perforation or from subsequent erosion of the sling. Such lesions do not cause any serious health consequences for patients on condition they are detected intraoperatively and appropriately repaired, but when unrecognized, they results in the development of considerable symptoms and negatively influence the quality of patient life. Improperly treated, it can lead to development of an abnormal communication between the urinary bladder and the anterior wall of the vagina - vesicovaginal fistula. We should suspect unrecognized bladder injury in case of patients with any persistent voiding symptoms after a sling procedure such as long lasting dysuria, persistent urinary leakage, hematuria, recurrent infections, chronic pain and voiding difficulties. Diagnosis and treatment of vesicovaginal fistula is long lasting and difficult for the patient and the surgeon. Futh-Mayo operation is an effective treatment method for the majority of vesicovaginal fistulas. During this operation we suture all layers of fistula separately (bladder, perivesical fascia and vaginal wall). Although with this operation we solve one problem, the patient still might suffer from recurrent SUI. Alternative methods of treatment which can be offered to patients after unsuccessful SUI operation are periurethral injections with bulking agents or electrical stimulation of the pelvic floor muscles. Both methods are effective in the therapy of recurrent SUI. In our case periurtehral injection of BulkamidR did not provide a total cure. Therefore, we completed the treatment with electrical stimulation of the pelvic floor muscles using patient-controlled electrodes placed in the vagina to stimulate muscles with current frequency of 50 Hz, amperage between 0-60 mA and duration of 250 μs. This procedure produced a series of changes in the stimulated area and enabled to cure the incontinence.

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