What is transvaginal mesh made of and how is it placed?
As the term implies, “transvaginal” means that the mesh is surgically placed through the vagina. Compared to abdominally, transvaginal implantation is faster, easier and not nearly as invasive with smaller incisions.
Depending on which organs are affected, surgical mesh is placed on the top, back or front of the vagina and then sewn into connective tissues. For patients suffering from POP caused by hysterectomy’s, for instance, the mesh is placed on top of the vagina to hold it in place.
Seventy-five to 80-percent of POP- and SUI-repair surgeries are done transvaginally with lightweight, large-pore mesh materials shaped to a specific use. There are four types of transvaginal mesh:
Non-Absorbable Synthetic meshes make up over half of FDA-approved products used in POP and SUI repairs. Ninety-one percent of these mesh materials are made from plastics, like polypropylene, while the rest are made from polyester. Because they’re designed to remain in the body indefinitely, non-absorbable synthetics are considered permanent implants.
Not intended to be used as a long-term treatment, Absorbable Synthetics are set in place with the thought that patients could grow new tissue at the implant site to keep the repair in place. Because they are absorbable, these meshes degrade as time passes, losing strength and therefore not as reliable as non-absorbable techniques.
Biologic meshes are just as they sound: derived from natural sources, such as tissues from cows (bovine) or pigs (porcine). These animal tissues have been disinfected and made fit for implanting in the human body, but, like the absorbable synthetics, disintegrate over time.
A combination of the other three types, Composite meshes are the least common type of transvaginal mesh.