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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Mid-urethral sling operations for stress urinary incontinence in women

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, July 2015
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (97th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (90th percentile)


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Mid-urethral sling operations for stress urinary incontinence in women
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, July 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd006375.pub3
Pubmed ID

Ford, Abigail A, Rogerson, Lynne, Cody, June D, Ogah, Joseph


Urinary incontinence is a very common and debilitating problem affecting about 50% of women at some point in their lives. Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is a contributory or predominant cause in 30% to 80% of these women. Mid-urethral sling (MUS) operations are a recognised minimally invasive surgical treatment for SUI. MUS involves the passage of a small strip of tape through either the retropubic or obturator space, with entry or exit points at the lower abdomen or groin, respectively. This review does not include single incision slings. To assess the clinical effects of mid-urethral sling (MUS) operations for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI), urodynamic stress incontinence (USI) or mixed urinary incontinence (MUI) in women. We searched the Cochrane Incontinence Group Specialised Register, which contains trials identified from CENTRAL, MEDLINE, MEDLINE in process, ClinicalTrials.gov and handsearching of journals and conference proceedings (searched 26 June 2014), Embase and Embase Classic (January 1947 to Week 25 2014), WHO ICTRP (searched on 30 June 2014) and the reference lists of relevant articles. Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials amongst women with SUI, USI or MUI, in which both trial arms involve a MUS operation. Two review authors independently assessed the methodological quality of potentially eligible studies and extracted data from the included trials. We included 81 trials that evaluated 12,113 women. We assessed the quality of evidence for outcomes using the GRADE assessment tool; the quality of most outcomes was moderate, mainly due to risk of bias or imprecision.Fifty-five trials with data contributed by 8652 women compared the use of the transobturator route (TOR) and retropubic route (RPR). There is moderate quality evidence that in the short term (up to one year) the rate of subjective cure of TOR and RPR are similar (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.00; 36 trials, 5514 women; moderate quality evidence) ranging from 62% to 98% in the TOR group, and from 71% to 97% in the RPR group. Short-term objective cure was similar in the TOR and RPR groups (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.00; 40 trials, 6145 women). Fewer trials reported medium-term (one to five years) and longer-term (over five years) data, but subjective cure was similar between the groups (RR 0.97, 95% CI 0.87 to 1.09; 5 trials, 683 women; low quality evidence; and RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.80 to 1.12; 4 trials, 714 women; moderate quality evidence, respectively). In the long term, subjective cure rates ranged from 43% to 92% in the TOR group, and from 51% to 88% in the RPR group.MUS procedures performed using the RPR had higher morbidity when compared to TOR, though the overall rate of adverse events remained low. The rate of bladder perforation was lower after TOR (0.6% versus 4.5%; RR 0.13, 95% CI 0.08 to 0.20; 40 trials, 6372 women; moderate quality evidence). Major vascular/visceral injury, mean operating time, operative blood loss and length of hospital stay were lower with TOR.Postoperative voiding dysfunction was less frequent following TOR (RR 0.53, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.65; 37 trials, 6200 women; moderate quality evidence). Overall rates of groin pain were higher in the TOR group (6.4% versus 1.3%; RR 4.12, 95% CI 2.71 to 6.27; 18 trials, 3221 women; moderate quality evidence) whereas suprapubic pain was lower in the TOR group (0.8% versus 2.9%; RR 0.29, 95% CI 0.11 to 0.78); both being of short duration. The overall rate of vaginal tape erosion/exposure/extrusion was low in both groups: 24/1000 instances with TOR compared with 21/1000 for RPR (RR 1.13, 95% CI 0.78 to 1.65; 31 trials, 4743 women; moderate quality evidence). There were only limited data to inform the need for repeat incontinence surgery in the long term, but it was more likely in the TOR group than in the RPR group (RR 8.79, 95% CI 3.36 to 23.00; 4 trials, 695 women; low quality evidence).A retropubic bottom-to-top route was more effective than top-to-bottom route for subjective cure (RR 1.10, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.19; 3 trials, 477 women; moderate quality evidence). It incurred significantly less voiding dysfunction, and led to fewer bladder perforations and vaginal tape erosions.Short-and medium-term subjective cure rates between transobturator tapes passed using a medial-to-lateral as opposed to a lateral-to-medial approach were similar (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.06; 6 trials, 759 women; moderate quality evidence, and RR 1.06, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.23; 2 trials, 235 women; moderate quality evidence). There was moderate quality evidence that voiding dysfunction was more frequent in the medial-to-lateral group (RR 1.74, 95% CI 1.06 to 2.88; 8 trials, 1121 women; moderate quality evidence), but vaginal perforation was less frequent in the medial-to-lateral route (RR 0.25, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.53; 3 trials, 541 women). Due to the very low quality of the evidence, it is unclear whether the lower rates of vaginal epithelial perforation affected vaginal tape erosion (RR 0.42, 95% CI 0.16 to 1.09; 7 trials, 1087 women; very low quality evidence). Mid-urethral sling operations have been the most extensively researched surgical treatment for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) in women and have a good safety profile. Irrespective of the routes traversed, they are highly effective in the short and medium term, and accruing evidence demonstrates their effectiveness in the long term. This review illustrates their positive impact on improving the quality of life of women with SUI. With the exception of groin pain, fewer adverse events occur with employment of a transobturator approach. When comparing transobturator techniques of a medial-to-lateral versus a lateral-to-medial insertion, there is no evidence to support the use of one approach over the other. However, a bottom-to-top route was more effective than top-to-bottom route for retropubic tapes.A salient point illustrated throughout this review is the need for reporting of longer-term outcome data from the numerous existing trials. This would substantially increase the evidence base and provide clarification regarding uncertainties about long-term effectiveness and adverse event profile.

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 217 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 5 2%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
South Africa 1 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
Unknown 209 96%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 31 14%
Student > Postgraduate 26 12%
Researcher 24 11%
Other 23 11%
Student > Bachelor 22 10%
Other 57 26%
Unknown 34 16%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 124 57%
Nursing and Health Professions 11 5%
Engineering 10 5%
Social Sciences 7 3%
Psychology 6 3%
Other 21 10%
Unknown 38 18%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 63. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 04 April 2018.
All research outputs
of 17,829,175 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 271 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 17,829,175 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 97th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,769 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 25.3. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 92% of its peers.
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We're also able to compare this research output to 271 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 90% of its contemporaries.