Objectives: To evaluate the complication rates of tension-free midurethral slings compared with other surgical treatments for stress urinary incontinence, including other tension-free midurethral slings. Methods: A systematic review of the literature using MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Web of Science was performed in January 2007. Meta-analysis was conducted by using the Review Manager software 4.2. Results: Our search identified 33 randomized controlled trials reporting data on complication rates. Our meta-analysis showed that complication rates were similar after tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) and Burch colposuspension, with the exclusion of bladder perforation, which was more common after TVT (p = 0.0001), and reoperation rate, which was significantly higher after Burch colposuspension (p = 0.02). TVT and pubovaginal sling were followed by similar complication rates. With regards to the comparisons among retropubic tapes, TVT and intravaginal slingplasty had similar complication rates, whereas suprapubic arc sling (SPARC) was complicated by higher rates of voiding lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) (p = 0.02) and reoperations (p = 0.04). Comparing retropubic and transobturator tapes, the occurrence of bladder perforations (p = 0.007), pelvic haematoma (p = 0.03), and storage LUTS (p = 0.01) was significantly less common in patients treated by transobturator tapes. Conclusions: Tension-free slings were followed by lower risk of reoperation compared with Burch colposuspension, whereas pubovaginal sling and tension-free midurethral slings had similar complication rates. With regards to different tension-free tapes, voiding LUTS and reoperations were more common after SPARC, whereas bladder perforations, pelvic haematoma, and storage LUTS were less common after transobturator tapes. The quality of many evaluated studies was limited. © 2007 European Association of Urology.
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