Complications of Urethral Bulking Agents for Stress Urinary Incontinence: An Extensive Review Including Case Reports

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Abstract

Objectives

Stress urinary incontinence in women is a common problem that significantly impacts quality of life. Periurethral injection of urethral bulking agents (UBAs) is a simple, noninvasive, and cost-effective treatment. However, complications associated with UBA are often underappreciated. Objective of this review was to get a complete overview of all published complications of UBA.

Methods

An extensive search of the scientific literature was conducted to quantitatively summarize the complications and their treatments of 8 UBAs. A total of 117 articles (original articles and case reports) were included in the final analysis. Complication incidence, treatment incidence, and follow-up time were extracted when mentioned. Statistical analysis of complication incidence of each UBA was calculated if possible.

Results

A total of 2095 complications in 6462 treated patients were reported in 79 studies. Sixty-seven (3%) were considered serious implying operative correction (Clavien grade III); of these, 46 (69%) required incision and drainage, and 21 (31%) required a more invasive procedure. In 38 case reports and small case series, 49 patients were treated for 110 complications. Of these 110 complications, 41 (37%) can be classified as Clavien grade III.

Conclusions

This extensive review shows that various UBAs have different complication rates, with certain UBAs being more prone to serious complications. Based on available publications, most UBAs have a good safety profile, with low complication rates. However, although the majority of UBA complications are transient and require no or noninvasive treatment, serious complications may require invasive intervention and treatment.

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