The two main nerve complications TOT-injured women report in support groups are 1) pudendal and 2) obturator in that order. Because most studies do not evaluate for nerve injuries past 3-12 months, there is no scientific estimate of how common the injury is. Our experience is that it is extremely common. Pudendal injury causes persistent pain localized around the urethra and around the clitoris, irradiating to the one labia majora (maximum at the lower edge of symphysis) or both.
The pudendal nerve is nowhere near the pathway of an obturator tape so how did the women get injured? The mystery may have been solved by three Czech investigators.
In 2011, Jaromir Masata & Petr Hubka & Alois Martan decided to look into why their patient, a 48 years old female obtained a pudendal nerve injury. After receiving a TVT-O, the woman experienced what the authors saw as an “atypical” postoperative pain that continued without relief for three years. While the authors treated her with injections and replaced her sling with yet another dubious tape, the work they did to track down the cause of her injury is valuable.
The woman’s insertion scar (see Figure 1) was in the wrong place. By using a cadaver to trace the aberrant passage of her sling, the researchers found it intersected with the pudendal nerve. How many others were injured this way? Are you one of them? Was your transobturator tape placed incorrectly? If the manufacturer provided short videos and an instruction sheet, was that adequate training for your surgeon?
Peggy Day is working on a book to combine all these stories. This is an excerpt from Pelvis in Flames: Your Pelvic Mesh Owner’s Guide. Your input is welcome to help make Pelvis in Flames the book you need to read.
If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about erosion, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, join my group, Surgical Mesh or check the list of support groups here.
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