Is vaginal mesh a stimulus of autoimmune disease?
Polypropylene mesh has been used as a means of reinforcing weak tissues in women with pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.OBJECTIVE
We sought to investigate a potential link between the development of systemic/autoimmune disorders and synthetic polypropylene mesh repairs.STUDY DESIGN
New York State Department of Health Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System data were utilized to conduct this retrospective cohort study. Adult women undergoing surgery for pelvic organ prolapse with vaginally implanted mesh from January 2008 through December 2009 in inpatient and ambulatory surgery settings in New York State were identified. Two separate control cohorts were created to compare outcomes, including a screening colonoscopy cohort and a vaginal hysterectomy cohort for benign gynecologic conditions (without pelvic organ prolapse repair or sling). Patients in the mesh cohort were individually matched to the control cohorts based on demographics, comorbidities, and procedure date. The development of systemic/autoimmune disease was determined before and after matching for 1-year, 2-year, 3-year, and entire follow-up (up to 6 years until December 2014) and differences between groups were evaluated.RESULTS
A total of 2102 patients underwent mesh-based pelvic organ prolapse surgery from January 2008 through December 2009. In the control cohorts, 37,298 patients underwent colonoscopy and 7338 underwent vaginal hysterectomy. When patients were matched based on demographics, comorbidities, and procedure time, mesh-based surgery was not associated with an increased risk of developing autoimmune disease at any of the evaluated time periods.CONCLUSION
Mesh-based vaginal surgery was not associated with the development of systemic/autoimmune diseases. These data refute claims against mesh as a cause of systemic disease.