Impact of the availability of midurethral slings on treatment strategies for stress urinary incontinence: a cost-effectiveness analysis.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

BJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology


OBJECTIVE: To perform a cost-effectiveness analysis for the surgical and non-surgical management of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) with and without the availability of midurethral sling.

DESIGN: Cost-effectiveness analysis.

SETTING: United States, 2019.

POPULATION: Women with stress urinary incontinence.

METHODS: We modeled SUI treatment pathways with and without the availability of midurethral slings, including no treatment, incontinence pessary, pelvic floor muscle physical therapy, urethral bulking injection, open and laparoscopic Burch colposuspension, and pubovaginal autologous sling. Time horizon was 2 years after initial treatment.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Costs (2019 US$) included index surgery, surgical retreatment, and complications including urinary retention, de novo urgency, and mesh exposure. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was calculated for non-dominated treatment strategies.

RESULTS: The least costly treatment strategies were incontinence pessary, pelvic floor physical therapy, no treatment, and midurethral sling, respectively. Midurethral slings had the highest effectiveness. The strategy with the lowest effectiveness was no treatment. The three cost-effective strategies included pessary, pelvic floor muscle physical therapy and midurethral slings. No other surgical options were cost-effective. If midurethral slings were not available, all other surgical options were still dominated by pelvic floor muscle physical therapy. Multiple one-way sensitivity analyses confirmed model robustness. The only reasonable threshold in which outcomes would change was if urethral bulking costs decreased 12.6%.

CONCLUSIONS: The midurethral sling is the most effective SUI treatment and the only cost-effective surgical option.

Clinical Institute

Women & Children




Obstetrics & Gynecology