Loyola Medicine Almost 50 percent of women seem to suffer, from urinary incontinence, which means loss of urine from physical activity such as coughing, sneezing or laughing. According to a recent study, undertaken by the Loyola University Health System (LUHS) two popular procedures, for female stress incontinence are supposedly found to be equivalent in efficacy but, astonishingly appear to have different side effects. The study further revealed that, fifteen to 80 percent women seem to have stress incontinence and four to 10 percent may undergo surgery.

The study authors thoroughly scrutinized two surgical techniques; amongst them was the retropubic procedure. In this procedure, a sling is placed between the public region and the bladder. This helps to overcome urine loss. The likely complications comprised urination problems requiring surgery. Further, the investigators analyzed the transobturator procedure, wherein, a sling is placed near the labia and urethra. The outcome was that, patients who underwent this procedure may witness neurologic symptoms like weakness in the upper leg. All the complications that aroused due to the utilization of both the procedures vanished in a couple of weeks.

Kimberly Kenton, MD, study co-author and associate professor in the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Urology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM) commented, “Few studies have compared the safety and efficacy of these two surgical techniques until now, and this is the first trial to show the procedures are equivalent in efficacy. These findings give us insight into the complications associated with each procedure, which will allow us to better tailor care to individual patient needs.”

The study was conducted on women, aged 21 years and older. These women were deciding to undergo, a stress-incontinence surgery. In order to qualify for the study, the women were apparently, made to experience stress incontinence symptoms, for at least three months with a positive urinary stress test at a bladder volume of 300ml or less.

Dr. Kenton, who also sees patients in the Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at Loyola University Health System (LUHS) enlightened, “Incontinence is a common health issue, which significantly impacts a woman’s quality of life. These findings will help us to bring advances to the millions of women who require surgery for this embarrassing condition.”

At 12 months, the objective cure rates of stress incontinence after the retropubic was 80.8 percent, and after the transobturator procedure it was 77.7 percent. While the subjective cure rates, such as self-reported stress-incontinence symptoms were identical, the criteria for equivalence at 62.2 and 55.8 percent were not met with. Requirement of surgery for urinary dysfunction were 2.7 and 0 percent (p=0.004). The neurologic symptoms were 4 and 9.4 percent (p=0.013). There seems to be an urgent need, to develop a surgery that is free from side-effects, since half the population of women appears to suffer from urinary incontinence.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.