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BJU Int. 2001 Dec;88(9):881-3.

Urinary stress incontinence in obese women: tension-free vaginal tape is the answer.

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Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Good Hope Hospital, Sutton Coldfield, UK.



To determine the effectiveness of the tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) in obese women with genuine stress incontinence (GSI), in whom obesity is often considered a relative contraindication to surgical treatment by traditional approaches, e.g. Burch colposuspension and slings (which are difficult and carry increased morbidity) or injectable agents (which although simple, are unpredictable and expensive).


Data on 242 consecutive women with urodynamically proven GSI were collected prospectively. The women were subdivided into three groups with a body mass index (BMI) of < 25, 25-29 and >or=30; obesity was defined as a BMI of >or=30. All procedures were performed under spinal anaesthesia. The King's validated quality of life (QoL) questionnaires (version 7) were completed before and 6 months after surgery. The subjective results were defined as a cure, significant improvement or failure.


Almost 90% of the obese women with GSI were cured, while the remaining 10% noted a considerable improvement in their symptoms. There was no significant difference in cure rates among the three groups. There was a highly significant (P < 0.001) improvement in QoL in all groups.


The TVT is at least as effective in obese women as in those with a lower BMI. The TVT is a simple and minimally invasive procedure, with low morbidity even in the obese group. TVT can be offered confidently to all obese women with GSI.

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