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Minimally invasive surgery best for stress incontinence

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Less invasive surgical treatments for stress urinary incontinence in women are just as effective as traditional open surgical approaches, according to a Cochrane review.

Researchers compared different surgical approaches to treating the condition. They looked at data from 62 trials involving 7,101 women.

Minimally invasive synthetic suburethral sling operations were found to be just as effective as traditional sling operations, with short term cure rates of 80%. They also had shorter operating times than conventional methods.

Additionally, minimally invasive slings were more effective than a second type of open surgery, in which the vagina is lifted using stitches to help support the bladder and urethra.

Lead researcher Joseph Ogah, who is based at the Leeds University Teaching Hospital, said: “These were only small trials and they varied greatly in quality, but we were able to make comparisons between different types of surgery and we found that minimally invasive sling operations for stress incontinence in women are very effective for this condition.”

“However, few of the trials we looked at reported outcomes after one year and therefore the long term efficacy of these procedures requires further investigation,” he added.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2009) 4

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