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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Dec 17;(12):CD003636. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003636.pub3.

Bladder neck needle suspension for urinary incontinence in women.

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Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen, 3rd Floor, Health Sciences Building, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, Scotland, AB25 2ZD, UK.

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Bladder neck needle suspension is an operation traditionally used for moderate or severe stress urinary incontinence in women. About a third of adult women experience some urinary incontinence, and about a third of these have moderate or severe symptoms.


To determine the effects of needle suspension on stress or mixed urinary incontinence in comparison with other management options.


We searched the Cochrane Incontinence Group Specialised Register, which contains trials identified from the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, MEDLINE in process,, WHO ICTRP and handsearching of journals and conference proceedings (searched 12 November 2014), and the reference lists of relevant articles.


Randomised or quasi-randomised trials that included needle suspension for the treatment of urinary incontinence.


At least two authors assessed trials and extracted data independently. Two trial investigators provided additional information.


We identified 10 trials, which included 375 women having six different types of needle suspension procedures and 489 who received comparison interventions. Needle suspensions were more likely to fail than open abdominal retropubic suspension. There was a higher subjective failure rate after the first year (91/313 (29%) failed versus 47/297 (16%) failed after open abdominal retropubic suspension). The risk ratio (RR) was 2.00 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.47 to 2.72), although the difference in peri-operative complications was not significant (17/75 (23%) versus 12/77 (16%); RR 1.44, 95% CI 0.73 to 2.83). There were no significant differences for the other outcome measures. This effect was seen in both women with primary incontinence and women with recurrent incontinence after failed primary operations. Needle suspensions may be as effective as anterior vaginal repair (50/156 (32%) failed after needle suspension versus 64/181 (35%) after anterior repair; RR 0.86, 95% CI 0.64 to 1.16), but there was little information about morbidity. Data for comparison with suburethral slings were inconclusive because they came from a small and atypical population.No trials compared needle suspensions with conservative management, peri-urethral injections, or sham or laparoscopic surgery.


Bladder neck needle suspension surgery is probably not as good as open abdominal retropubic suspension for the treatment of primary and secondary urodynamic stress incontinence because the cure rates were lower in the trials reviewed. However, the reliability of the evidence was limited by poor quality and small trials. There was not enough information to comment on comparisons with suburethral sling operations. Although cure rates were similar after needle suspension compared with after anterior vaginal repair, the data were insufficient to be reliable and inadequate to compare morbidity.

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