Exploring the basic science of prolapse meshes

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Purpose of review

Polypropylene mesh has been widely used in the surgical repair of pelvic organ prolapse. However, low but persistent rates of complications related to mesh, most commonly mesh exposure and pain, have hampered its use. Complications are higher following transvaginal implantation prompting the Food and Drug Administration to release two public health notifications warning of complications associated with transvaginal mesh use (PHN 2008 and 2011) and to upclassify transvaginal prolapse meshes from Class II to Class III devices. Although there have been numerous studies to determine the incidence and management of mesh complications as well as impact on quality of life, few studies have focused on mechanisms.

Recent findings

In this review, we summarize the current understanding of how mesh textile properties and mechanical behavior impact vaginal structure and function, as well as the local immune response. We also discuss how mesh properties change in response to loading.


We highlight a few areas of current and future research to emphasize collaborative strategies that incorporate basic science research to improve patient outcomes.

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