Synthetic materials have long been used to provide structural support when surgically repairing pelvic organ prolapse (POP). The most widely used synthetic material is a mesh made of polypropylene (PPL). The use of mesh is intended to improve cure rates and prevent recurrences after POP surgery – however as more mesh materials have been implanted, it has become apparent that serious complications can occur in up to 30% of women, particularly when the mesh is implanted transvaginally. Over the years many different mesh kits have been marketed and used in the treatment of POP however polypropylene mesh was never designed or tested for use in pelvic floor. Instead it was approved for clinical use based on its biocompatibility and success in abdominal hernia repairs. It is now known that PPL meshes are neither compliant with the mechanical forces in the pelvic floor nor do they integrate well into paravaginal tissues. Better materials developed specifically for use in pelvic floor are urgently needed. The aim of this chapter is to define the requirements of an ideal mesh in terms of its material properties and to summarize the ongoing research on developing the next generation pelvic floor repair materials.
Part of the book: Pelvic Floor Disorders