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Vaginal Sling Procedure: A Good Option for Elderly Women?

Vaginal sling procedures have been shown to be effective in controlling stress incontinence in many women. But does this procedure benefit elderly patients as well? Researchers in Australia sought to answer this question in a study of 1,225 women who had undergone various types of midurethral sling surgery over the course of 8 years. The test group ranged in age from around 58 to 90, with an overall group average of 85 years old.

The success rate for the entire group was 85%, with the elderly women averaging an 81% cure and the younger group averaging 85%. Although the elderly group was more likely to fail their first attempt to urinate after surgery, the elderly women were ultimately as successful when compared to the younger group.

Regardless of age, having a BMI of over 25, mixed urinary incontinence, previous anti-incontinence surgery, diabetes, severe sphincter dysfunction and vaginal prolapsed surgery all were risk factors for possible sling failure.

The complication rate overall was similar between the two groups, although the elderly group experienced a longer average hospitalization time. Even though elderly patients tend to have a greater number of complex medical conditions, as well as more severe urinary incontinence, they appear to tolerate sling surgery well. If appropriate and desired, this minimally invasive procedure should be discussed as a possible treatment option.

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