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To analyse the complications of tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) surgery, a minimally invasive alternative for treating patients with stress urinary incontinence (SUI), at six institutions, and to review the management of these complications and their effect on patient outcome.In all, 241 patients who had a TVT procedure by six urologists at six hospitals (two university and four community) were reviewed retrospectively by the same urologist. Complications during and after surgery, and their management, were analysed.Complications during surgery included bladder perforation in 48 patients (5.8%) and blood loss > 500 mL in 16 (2.5%). Immediate complications after surgery were urinary retention (>24 h after) in 47 patients (19.7%), pelvic haematoma in four (1.9%) and suprapubic wound infection in one (0.4%). Of the 47 patients in retention, 32 were in retention for <48 h and treated with an indwelling catheter. The 15 remaining patients were treated with an indwelling catheter (one) or clean intermittent catheterization for a mean of 22 days. To correct the retention the TVT was released in seven patients and the tape sectioned in three. Late complications were de novo urgency, persistent suprapubic discomfort and intravaginal tape erosion in 36 (15%), 18 (7.5%) and one (0.4%) patient, respectively. Most of these complications resolved with observation and medical management, but intravaginal tape erosion required partial resection of the tape with closure and repair of the vaginal mucosa.The present TVT complication rates were slightly higher than reported previously. This multi-institutional review in both academic and community hospitals may better reflect the morbidity of TVT insertion in clinical practice. TVT is a highly effective, minimally invasive method for treating SUI. A stricter definition of each complication and a better understanding of the mechanism of these complications may further improve the surgical outcome and decrease patient morbidity.