Better monitoring of mesh implants needed: Duffy

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The publication of new data on the number of local women who have undergone a controversial procedure to treat incontinence (SUI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP) after child birth has been welcomed by a local councillor.

But Sinn Féin’s Sandra Duffy has warned there remain gaps in our knowledge of the use of vaginal mesh implants, which, it’s believed, can cause chronic pain, in 10 per cent of women.

Last year the ‘Journal’ revealed that from April 2012 to April 2017 515 procedures involving the use of synthetic mesh were carried out on women in the North West.

This week the Department for Health has published a new ‘Retrospective review of surgery for urogynaecological prolapse and stress urinary incontinence using tape or mesh experimental statistics, Northern Ireland, April 2008 - March 2017’.

Colr. Duffy said: “The audit reviewed data on procedures carried out between 2008 and 2017 to determine the frequency of such surgery and the rate of subsequent removals.

“More information is always useful but unfortunately the gaps in this document tell us more about the state of record keeping than the actual issue. The analysis doesn’t include variables such as the type of mesh used, the surgical technique used or patient profiles as these are not collected as part of the hospital inpatient system. The data also doesn’t record the severity of the condition before surgery or any subsequent complications.”