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Reoperation rates for pelvic organ prolapse repairs with biologic and synthetic grafts in a large population-based cohort

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Introduction and hypothesis

As the long-term complications of synthetic mesh become increasingly apparent, re-evaluation of alternative graft options for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) repairs is critical. We sought to compare the long-term reoperation rates of biologic and synthetic grafts in POP repair.


Using the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development database, we identified all women who underwent index inpatient POP repair with either a synthetic or biologic graft between 2005 and 2011 in the state of California. ICD-9 and CPT codes were used to identify subsequent surgeries in these patients for either recurrent POP or a graft complication.


A total of 14,192 women underwent POP repair with a biologic (14%) or synthetic graft (86%) during the study period. Women with biologic grafts had increased rates of surgery for recurrent pelvic organ prolapse (3.6% vs 2.5%, p = 0.01), whereas women with synthetic grafts had higher rates of repeat surgery for a graft complication (3.0 vs 2.0%, p = 0.02). There were no significant differences between the overall risk of repeat surgery between the groups (5.7% vs 5.6%, p = 0.79). These effects persisted in multivariate modeling.


We demonstrate in a large population-based cohort that biologic grafts are associated with an increased rate of repeat surgery for POP recurrence whereas synthetic mesh is associated with an increased rate of repeat surgery for a graft complication. These competing risks result in an equivalent overall any-cause repeat surgery rate between the groups. These data suggest that neither type of graft should be excluded from use and encourage a personalized risk assessment.

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Ambulatory surgery


Current procedure terminology


Food and Drug Administration


International Classification of Diseases, ninth edition


Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development


Patient discharge


Pelvic organ prolapse


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Correspondence to Ericka M. Sohlberg.

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Table 5 Procedure codes used to define the cohort
Table 6 Graft-related complication diagnosis codes
Table 7 Graft-related complication procedure codes
Table 8 Repeat surgery stratified by prolapse compartment (including concurrent incontinence repair)

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Sohlberg, E.M., Dallas, K.B., Weeks, B.T. et al. Reoperation rates for pelvic organ prolapse repairs with biologic and synthetic grafts in a large population-based cohort. Int Urogynecol J 31, 291–301 (2020).

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  • Biologic graft
  • Mesh
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Synthetic