Tension-free vaginal tape for stress urinary incontinence: Is there a learning curve?

Asnat Groutz*, David Gordon, Igal Wolman, Ariel J. Jaffa, Menachem P. David, Joseph B. Lessing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To assess the learning curve characteristics of the first 30 tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) procedures carried out in our medical center and to evaluate its safety and short-term effectiveness. Methods: A total of 30 incontinent women with urodynamically proven SUI were enrolled. None had undergone any previous anti-incontinence procedure. All were operated on by one surgeon, in accordance with the technique described by Ulmsten et al. in 1996. Mean follow-up was 11.4 ± 3.6 months (range, 5-17 months). Results: Five (17%) bladder perforations occurred at the beginning of the study, due to inadvertent insertion of the applicator. All perforations were identified by intraoperative cystoscopy. Five other patients (17%) had increased intraoperative bleeding (>200 mL) necessitating vaginal tamponade. Blood transfusions were not required. Eight (27%) patients had immediate postoperative voiding difficulties, necessitating catheterization for 2-10 days, but none needed long-term catheterization. There was no local infection or rejection of the Prolene tape was found. All patients were subjectively cured of their stress incontinence; however, urodynamic evaluation revealed "asymptomatic genuine stress incontinence" in one patient. Sixteen of 21 patients (80%) with preoperative urge syndrome, had persistent postoperative symptoms. No patient developed de novo urge incontinence. Conclusion: The TVT operation is a new, minimally invasive surgical procedure with excellent short- and medium-term cure rates. However, there is a definite learning curve, and we believe that the operation should only be performed by experienced surgeons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-472
Number of pages3
JournalNeurourology and Urodynamics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002


  • Complications
  • Stress urinary incontinence
  • Tension-free vaginal tape


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