Single-incision mini-slings versus standard midurethral slings in surgical management of female stress urinary incontinence: a meta-analysis of effectiveness and complications

Mohamed Abdel-Fattah, John A. Ford, Chou Phay Lim, Priya Madhuvrata

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Single-incision mini-slings (SIMS) have been introduced for the treatment of female stress urinary incontinence (SUI); however, concerns have been raised regarding their efficacy. No systematic reviews or meta-analyses have previously assessed these relatively new procedures.

To assess the current evidence of effectiveness and safety of SIMS compared with standard midurethral slings (SMUS) (retropubic and transobturator tension-free vaginal tapes) in the management of female SUI.

Evidence acquisition
We conducted a literature search from 1996 to January 2011. Meta-analysis of all randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing SIMS versus SMUS was performed in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement. Data were analysed using Rev-Man 5. Primary outcomes were patient-reported and objective cure rates. Secondary outcomes included perioperative complications, quality of life (QoL) changes, and costs to health services.

Evidence synthesis
A total of 758 women in nine RCTs with a mean follow-up of 9.5 mo were included. The mean age (52.3 vs 52.1 yr), body mass index (27.4 vs 27.7), and parity (2.4 and 2.4) were comparable for both groups. SIMS were associated with significantly lower patient-reported and objective cure rates at 6–12 mo compared with SMUS (risk ratio [RR]: 0.83; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.70–0.99, and RR: 0.85; 95% CI, 0.74–0.97, respectively). SIMS were associated with significantly shorter operative time (weighed mean difference [WMD]: 8.67 min; 95% CI, 17.32 to −0.02), lower day 1 pain scores (WMD: 1.74; 95% CI, −2.58 to −0.09), and less postoperative groin pain (RR: 0.18; 95% CI, 0.04–0.72). Repeat continence surgery (RR: 6.72; 95% CI, 2.39–18.89) and de novo urgency incontinence (RR: 2.08; 95% CI, 1.01–4.28) were significantly higher in the SIMS group. There was no significant difference in the QoL scores between the groups (WMD: 33.46; 95% CI, −20.62 to 87.55). No studies compared cost to health services.

SIMS are associated with inferior patient-reported and objective cure rates on the short-term follow-up, as well as higher reoperation rates for SUI when compared with SMUS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-480
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Urology
Issue number3
Early online date24 May 2011
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011



  • stress urinary incontinence
  • single incision tapes
  • mini-slings
  • tension free vaginal tapes
  • transobturator tapes

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