A urinary incontinence operation used to be carried out by highly skilled surgeons using a woman’s own tissues to create a sling or by a method called Burch colposupsension which involves the surgeon lifting the front wall of a woman’s vagina and fixing it with permanent stitches onto a ligament behind their pubic bone .
It is thought that for every 100 colposuspension operations a surgeon can carry out 600 TVT operations, making it appear a more successful and cheaper option.
The TVT plastic mesh sling device came on to the market in about 1997. It can be put in by less skilled surgeons, taking less time – 20 minutes instead of about 3 hours – and it went from a five night hospital stay to a day case operation meaning that more women can be treated more cost effectively.
Main manufacturers are Johnson and Johnson under the name Ethicon Gynaecare, also Boston Scientific and Bard.
As more lawsuits are filed it is becoming evident there are high risks involved, Kath said and although the Medical Health Regulatory Authority (MHRA) say the benefits outweigh the risks she believes the catastrophic result when it goes wrong makes the operation one that should be suspended.