Challenging the Myth: Transvaginal Mesh is Not Associated with Carcinogenesis

Journal Journal of Urology
Authors  Chughtai B, Sedrakyan A, Mao J, Thomas D, Eilber KS, Clemens JQ, Anger JT
Year Published 2018
Link to publication



We sought to determine if there was a potential link between synthetic polypropylene mesh implantation for transvaginal pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, and carcinogenesis using statewide administrative data.


Women who underwent transvaginal surgery for pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence with mesh between January 2008 and December 2009 in New York State were identified using ICD-9-CM procedure codes and CPT-4 codes. Patients in the mesh cohort were individually matched to 2 control cohorts based on comorbidities and procedure date. Carcinogenesis was determined before and after matching at 1, 2 and 3 years, and during the entire followup time.


A total of 2,229 patients who underwent mesh based pelvic organ prolapse surgery and 10,401 who underwent sling surgery for stress urinary incontinence between January 2008 and December 2009 were included in the study. Mean followup was 6 years (range 5 to 7). Exact matching between the mesh and control cohorts resulted in 1,870 pairs for pelvic organ prolapse mesh and cholecystectomy (1:2), 1,278 pairs for pelvic organ prolapse mesh and hysterectomy (1:1), 7,986 pairs for sling and cholecystectomy (1:1) and 3,810 pairs for sling and hysterectomy (1:1). Transvaginal mesh implantation was not associated with an increased risk of a cancer diagnosis (pelvic/local cancers or any cancer) at 1 year and during the entire followup of up to 7 years.


Transvaginal surgery with implantation of mesh was not associated with the development of malignancy at a mean followup of 6 years.