The Role of the Surgeon on Outcomes of Vaginal Prolapse Surgery With Mesh

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IntroductionAdverse outcomes after surgery for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) with mesh are often attributed to the mesh material with little attention paid to the influence of surgeon factors. We used a national data set to determine whether surgeon case volume and specialty influenced vaginal prolapse surgery outcomes with mesh.Materials and MethodsPublic Use File data on a 5% random national sample of female Medicare beneficiaries were obtained from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Women with a diagnosis of POP who underwent surgery with mesh between 2007 and 2008 were identified by relevant International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification and Current Procedural Terminology, 4th Edition procedure codes. Outcomes were compared by surgeon case volume and specialty.ResultsFrom 2007 to 2008, 1657 surgeries for POP were performed with mesh. Low-, intermediate-, and high-volume surgeons performed 881 (53%), 408 (25%), and 368 (22%) of the cases with mesh, respectively. The cumulative reoperation rates for low-, intermediate-, and high-volume providers were 6%, 2%, and 3%, respectively. The difference in reoperation rates between low and intermediate and low- and high-volume surgeons was statistically significant (P = 0.007 and 0.003, respectively). There was no significant difference in reoperation rates between gynecologists and urologists when vaginal mesh was implanted for POP surgery.ConclusionsLow-volume surgeons performed most of the vaginal prolapse repairs with mesh and had significantly higher reoperation rates. Surgeon experience must be a consideration when reporting mesh-related complications of POP surgery.

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