Clinical Review

2022 Update on pelvic floor dysfunction

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Updates on new data on alternative management options for urinary incontinence, medical optimization prior to prolapse surgery, and long-term outcomes for prolapse repair with transvaginal mesh


Knowledge of the latest evidence on the management of pelvic floor disorders is essential for all practicing ObGyns. In this Update, we review long-term outcomes for a polyacrylamide hydrogel urethral bulking agent for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) that presents a viable alternative to the gold standard, midurethral sling. We review the new recommendations from the American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS) regarding the administration of anticholinergics, highlighting a paradigm shift in the management of overactive bladder (OAB). In addition, we present data on a proposed threshold glycosylated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level for patients undergoing pelvic organ prolapse (POP) surgery that may help reduce the risk of perioperative complications. Finally, we consider new evidence on the long-term efficacy and safety of transvaginal mesh for repair of POP.

Periurethral injection with polyacrylamide hydrogel is a long-term durable and safe option for women with SUI

Brosche T, Kuhn A, Lobodasch K, et al. Seven-year efficacy and safety outcomes of Bulkamid for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence. Neurourol Urodyn. 2021;40:502-508. doi:10.1002/nau.24589.

Urethral bulking agents are a less invasive management option for women with SUI compared with the gold standard, midurethral sling. Treatment with a polyacrylamide hydrogel (PAHG; Bulkamid)—a nonparticulate hydrogel bulking agent—showed long-term efficacy and a favorable safety profile at 7 years’ follow-up.

Study details

Brosche and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study that included women with SUI or stress-predominant mixed urinary incontinence (MUI) who underwent transurethral PAHG injections for primary treatment of their incontinence symptoms. The study objective was to evaluate the long-term efficacy of PAHG based on patient satisfaction. Treatment safety was a secondary outcome.

Pad counts and validated questionnaires were used to determine treatment effectiveness. Additional data on reinjection rates, perioperative complications, and postoperative complications also were collected.

Long-term outcomes favorable

During the study time period, 1,200 patients were treated with PAHG, and 7-year data were available for 553 women. Of the 553 patients, 67% reported improvement or cure of their SUI symptoms when PAHG was performed as a primary procedure, consistent with previously published 12-month data. There were no perioperative complications. Postoperative complications were transient. Short-term subjective prolonged bladder emptying was the most common complication and occurred in 15% of patients.

PAHG injection is a durable and safe alternative for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence in women who are not candidates for or who decline treatment with alternative methods, such as a midurethral sling.

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