A randomized trial of retropubic vs single-incision sling among patients undergoing vaginal prolapse repair

Catherine A. Matthews*, Charles R. Rardin, Andrew Sokol, Cheryl Iglesia, Sarah Abbie Collins, Cecile Ferrando, Harvey Winkler, Kimberly Sue Kenton, Julia Geynisman-Tan, Robert E. Gutman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The choice of midurethral sling type may impact efficacy and complications in women undergoing transvaginal native tissue repair of pelvic organ prolapse. Objective: The primary aim was to determine if the single-incision sling is noninferior to retropubic sling for the management of stress urinary incontinence among patients undergoing reconstructive or obliterative native tissue vaginal repair. The secondary aims were to compare adverse events and surgeon ease of use with sling assignment. Study Design: A multicenter, noninferiority, randomized trial of women with ≥ stage II pelvic organ prolapse and objectively confirmed stress urinary incontinence undergoing reconstructive or obliterative vaginal repair was performed. Women were randomized to concomitant single-incision (Altis sling, Coloplast Minneapolis, MN) with suprapubic sham incisions or retropubic slings. The primary dichotomous outcome was abnormal lower urinary tract function within 12 months postsurgery, defined as bothersome stress urinary incontinence symptoms (>1 Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory question no. 17); retreatment for stress urinary incontinence or treatment for urinary retention. Secondary outcomes were adverse events, Patient Global Impression of Improvement of bladder function, and surgeon ease of use (1, worst; 10, best). All subjects completed validated questionnaires and underwent a Pelvic Organ Prolapse Quantification, cough stress test, and postvoid residual preoperatively, at 6 weeks and 12 months postoperatively. Assuming a subjective cure rate for retropubic of 82%, 80% power, and 1-sided 5% significance level, we estimated that 127 patients in each arm were needed to declare noninferiority of the single-incision sling if the upper bound of the 95% confidence interval for the between-group difference per protocol in abnormal bladder function was <12%. Assuming a 10% loss to follow-up, the total enrollment goal was 280. Results: Between December 2018 and January 2023, 280 subjects were enrolled across 7 sites, and 255 were randomized: 126 were for single-incision, and 129 were for retropubic sling. There were no preoperative or operative characteristic differences between groups. Overall, 81% had reconstructive, and 19% had obliterative native tissue repairs. The primary outcome, abnormal lower urinary tract function at 12 months, occurred in 29 (25%) of single-incision vs 24 (20%) of the retropubic sling group (risk difference, 0.04472 [95% confidence interval, −0.03 to 0.1133]; P=.001 for noninferiority). Bothersome stress urinary incontinence occurred in 20% vs 17% (P=.27) and was retreated in 4% vs 2% (P=.44) of single-incision vs retropubic groups, respectively. Adverse events were reported in 24 (16%) of single-incision vs 14 (9%) of the retropubic group (95% confidence interval, 0.95–3.29; P=.70) and included de novo or worsening urgency incontinence symptoms, urinary tract infection, mesh exposure, need for prolonged catheter drainage, and de novo pain, without differences between groups. Patient Global Impression of Improvement (very satisfied and satisfied) was 71% vs 67% (P=.43), and median surgeon ease of sling use was 8 (7–10) vs 9 (8–10), P=.03 in single-incision vs retropubic, respectively. Conclusion: For women undergoing vaginal repair, single-incision was noninferior to retropubic sling for stress urinary incontinence symptoms, and complications, including treatment for urinary retention, did not differ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • colpocleisis
  • midurethral sling
  • native tissue vaginal repair
  • occult stress incontinence
  • single-incision sling
  • stress incontinence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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