Defining Patients’ Knowledge and Perceptions of Vaginal Mesh Surgery

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Given recent government investigations and media coverage of the controversy regarding mesh surgery, we sought to define patients’ knowledge and perceptions of vaginal mesh surgery.

Study Design

An anonymous survey was distributed to a convenience sample of new patients at urogynecology and female urology clinics at a single medical center during April to June 2012. The survey assessed patients’ demographics, information sources, and beliefs and concerns regarding mesh surgery. The Fisher’s exact test was used to identify predictors of patients’ beliefs regarding mesh. Logistic and linear regressions were used to identify predictors of aversion to surgery and higher concern regarding future surgery.


One hundred sixty-four women completed the survey; 62.2% (102/164) indicated knowledge of mesh surgery for prolapse and/or incontinence and were included in subsequent analyses. The mean ± SD age was 58.0 ± 12.5 years, and 24.5% reported prior mesh surgery. The most common information source was television commercials (57.8%); only 23.5% of the women reported receiving information from a medical professional. Participants indicated the following regarding vaginal mesh: class-action lawsuit in progress (55/102 [54.0%]), causes pain (47/102 [47.1%]), possibility of rejection (35/102 [34.3%]), can cause bleeding and become exposed vaginally (30/102 [29.4%]), and should be removed owing to recall (28/102 [27.5%]). Of these women, 22.1% (19/86) indicated they would not consider mesh surgery. On multivariable logistic regression, level of concern, information from friends/family, and knowledge of class-action lawsuit predicted aversion to mesh surgery.


Nearly two thirds of new patients had knowledge of vaginal mesh surgery. We identified considerable misinformation and aversion to future mesh surgery among these women.

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