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J Am Coll Surg. 2003 Apr;196(4):579-83.

The tension-free vaginal tape procedure for female urinary incontinence without preoperative urodynamic evaluation.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Turku University Hospital, PO Box 52, FIN-20520 Turku, Finland.



We evaluated the short-term outcomes of the tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) technique for female urinary incontinence, when the diagnosis was based on incontinence symptoms and pelvic examination including cough stress test or transperineal ultrasonography or both, but without preoperative urodynamic verification.


Tension-free vaginal tape was performed on 191 patients under local (82%) or spinal (18%) anesthesia. One hundred twenty-seven women (66%) had stress urinary incontinence and 64 (34%) had mixed incontinence. Fifty-eight percent had undergone previous surgery; 21% for incontinence. Thirty-four women underwent concomitant surgery. The age range was from 32 to 84 years (mean 60) and parity from 0 to 8 (mean 2). Seventy-four (39%) had concomitant chronic illnesses. The diagnosis of incontinence was based on specific questionnaires and physical examinations. Urogynecological ultrasonography was performed on patients with mixed incontinence. The mean followup was 17 months.


The mean operative time was 27 min (16 to 63), the mean hospital stay was 2 days (1 to 10). Intraoperative complications were: bladder perforation in five patients (2.6%), hematoma in five patients (2.6%), heavy bleeding (400 mL) in one patient, and persistent retention in four patients (2.2%). Altogether, 164 of 187 patients (87.7%) were completely cured, and 23 patients experienced no improvement. Six patients (4.8%) developed de novo urge incontinence, 60% had less urge incontinence. The cure rates were: 97% among stress urinary incontinence patients versus 69% among mixed incontinence patients (p = 0.001); TVT alone, 88% versus in combination with other surgery 85% (p = 0.576); TVT under local anesthesia, 88% versus under spinal anesthesia 88%; TVT with recurrent incontinence, 85% versus primary incontinence 89% (p = 0.583); and in patients with concomitant illnesses, 82% versus healthy 91% (p = 0.076).


Tension-free vaginal tape can be used to treat patients with primary or recurrent stress or mixed incontinence with or without concomitant surgery under local or spinal anesthesia. But the success rate is considerably lower in patients in whom TVT is performed for mixed incontinence.

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