International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 749–758

Lower exposure rates of partially absorbable mesh compared to nonabsorbable mesh for cystocele treatment: 3-year follow-up of a prospective randomized trial

  • J. Farthmann
  • D. Watermann
  • A. Niesel
  • C. Fünfgeld
  • A. Kraus
  • F. Lenz
  • H. J. Augenstein
  • E. Graf
  • B. Gabriel
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00192-012-1929-2

Cite this article as:
Farthmann, J., Watermann, D., Niesel, A. et al. Int Urogynecol J (2013) 24: 749. doi:10.1007/s00192-012-1929-2


Introduction and hypothesis

In surgery for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) the use of alloplastic meshes has become common. Among possible complications, mesh exposure is the most frequent problem. It is hypothesized that exposure rates are correlated to mesh weight and the amount of foreign material. Therefore, we conducted a prospective open-label randomized multicenter trial comparing a conventional polypropylene mesh (PP) with a partially absorbable polypropylene mesh (PA) for cystocele treatment.


A total of 200 patients with POP > stage I were randomized either to a conventional or a partially absorbable mesh. Exposure rates were observed after 3, 12, and 36 months and correlated to mesh material, patient characteristics, intraoperative data, and treatment centers. Furthermore, management of mesh exposure, satisfaction with surgery, and postoperative pain were evaluated.


At all follow-up intervals mesh exposure rate was smaller in the group of the partially absorbable mesh (3 months PP 11.3 % vs PA 3.2 %, p = 0.0492; 12 months 6.6 % vs 6.3 %; 36 months 7.5 % vs 3.4 %). Over the course of time, mesh exposure was observed in 27 patients, with surgical intervention necessary in 11 patients. The rate of recurrent POP was higher (p > 0.05) in patients with the partially absorbable mesh. The majority of patients were fully satisfied with the operation (52.8 %) and had no pelvic floor pain (67.5 %).


In this prospective, randomized trial with a long-term follow-up there was a low exposure rate in both treatment groups with a trend toward fewer exposures in the group of the partially absorbable mesh.


Mesh exposure Pelvic organ prolapse Cystocele Polypropylene mesh 



Pelvic organ prolapse


Conventional nonabsorbable mesh


Partially absorbable mesh


US Food and Drug Administration


International Continence Society

Copyright information

© The International Urogynecological Association 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Farthmann
    • 1
  • D. Watermann
    • 2
  • A. Niesel
    • 3
  • C. Fünfgeld
    • 4
  • A. Kraus
    • 5
  • F. Lenz
    • 6
  • H. J. Augenstein
    • 7
  • E. Graf
    • 8
  • B. Gabriel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics & GynecologyUniversity HospitalsFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Evangelisches Diakoniekrankenhaus FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  3. 3.Kreiskrankenhaus PreetzPreetzGermany
  4. 4.Klinikum TettnangTettnangGermany
  5. 5.Klinikum FuldaFrauenklinikFuldaGermany
  6. 6.Krankenhaus HetzelstiftNeustadtGermany
  7. 7.Evangelisches KrankenhausFrauenklinikOldenburgGermany
  8. 8.Office of Clinical StudiesUniversity HospitalFreiburgGermany