Mortality and Reoperation Following Midurethral Sling versus Urethral Bulking In Older Women.

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california; santa monica


OBJECTIVE: To examine differences in mortality, retreatment rates, and comorbidities that may be risk factors for retreatment among Medicare beneficiaries (age 65+) undergoing midurethral sling versus urethral bulking.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study using the 5% limited data set from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services between 2010 and 2018. Beneficiaries age 65 or older who underwent sling or bulking without concomitant surgery from 2011 to 2014 were included and followed until reoperation or retreatment, loss of Medicare, death, or December 31, 2018. Repeat procedures for ongoing stress incontinence or complication were included. Associations between index treatment and need for a secondary procedure were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards models.

RESULTS: Median follow-up time was 5.7 years for 1,700 patients undergoing sling and 5.2 years for 875 patients undergoing bulking. Within 5 years, 10.2% of sling patients and 23.2% of bulking patients had died. When controlling for age, race, and comorbidities, bulking patients were 1.73 times more likely than sling patients to die during the study period. Bulking patients were significantly more likely to have 12 of the 16 of the medical comorbidities evaluated. By 5 years, 6.7% of sling patients had been retreated for SUI compared with 24.6% of bulking patients. Apart from hypertension, none of the comorbidities evaluated was associated with a difference in the risk of a subsequent surgical procedure. Members of racial and ethnic minority groups were less likely to be retreated.

CONCLUSIONS: Older adults undergoing bulking are notably sicker and have shorter life expectancy as compared with those undergoing sling, suggesting these factors heavily guide patient selection. Comorbidities do not predispose patients to reoperation or retreatment.

Clinical Institute

Women & Children


Obstetrics & Gynecology