PURPOSE: Bone anchors are used for suture fixation in a wide variety of reconstructive surgeries. They have been in use for pelvic floor reconstruction since 1992. Bone anchors provide a stable point of suture fixation in order to avoid tying over the mobile rectus fascia. The purpose of this study was to compare two sling techniques that utilize bone anchors with respect to recovery from postoperative pain, complete continence, operative time, and length of hospital stay.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 64 women (mean age = 57) were treated for stress urinary incontinence secondary to intrinsic sphincter deficiency or hypermobility between March 1998 to August 2000. Group I (SPWS) consisted of 30 patients who underwent insitu vaginal wall sling with suprapubic placement of bone anchors in the pubic tubercle utilizing the Vesica system. Group II (TVCS) consisted of 34 patients who underwent cadaveric fascia sling with transvaginal placement of bone anchors behind the symphysis pubis utilizing the Precision-TAC system. Phone interviews were conducted by a third party who was blinded to the details of the surgical technique, to assess pain at various postoperative times as well as current level of continence. The pain assessment was done using the Verbal Pain Assessment Scale (VAS). Complete continence was defined as dryness with no pad use.
RESULTS: Significant differences were discovered in both days to pain free state and operative time. No other differences were detected in continence or length of hospital stay. Based on the VAS, a pain free state was achieved for the TVCS group in 1.33 days and for the SPWS group in 9.7 days with p=0.00043. Mean operative time for the SPWS group was 96.9 minutes for the sling alone and 106.7 minutes when combined with cystocele repair. Mean operative time for the TVCS group was 75.36 minutes for the sling alone and 98.11 minutes when combined with cystocele repair. No patient in either group developed osteomyelitis, osteitis pubis, removal of the bone anchors for any reason, nor sling erosion. Seventy percent and 83.3% patients were completely dry (mean follow-up 12.5 months, range 3-30 months) in the SPWS and TVCS group, respectively.
CONCLUSION: A pain free state is achieved faster in patients undergoing transvaginal placement of bone anchors compared to bone anchors placed suprapubically. Bone anchors used in sling procedures are safe and achieve acceptable short term continence rates.