Transvaginal mesh in the media following the 2011 US food and drug administration public health notification update

Kevin Koo, E. Ann Gormley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Aims: Prompted by patients’ changing perceptions of transvaginal mesh, this study examines how mesh has been reported in the news following the 2011 US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated notification about the use of mesh in the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse. Methods: Two national newspaper databases were queried for articles discussing transvaginal mesh published within 3 years of the FDA announcement. Content analysis included headline subjects, mesh-related complications, quoted sources, and the FDA recommendations. To determine whether more widely read sources publish higher quality reporting, a subgroup analysis was conducted based on newspaper circulation. Results: Ninety-five articles met inclusion criteria. Mesh-related litigation was the most common headline subject (36 articles, 38%), and 54% of all articles referenced legal action. Fifty-seven articles (60%) cited at least one mesh-related complication. Only 18 articles (19%) quoted surgeons who use transvaginal mesh. For the FDA update, 40% of articles that first reported the announcement accurately specified that it applies to mesh for prolapse, not incontinence. This ambiguity persisted: half of all articles cited the warning, but only 23% distinguished between prolapse and incontinence. Higher newspaper circulation did not significantly improve the quality of reporting about the content or context of the FDA's recommendations. Conclusions: Despite frequent media coverage of transvaginal mesh and its complications since 2011, very few news sources that cited the FDA warning distinguished between prolapse and incontinence. Given prevalent reporting of mesh-related litigation, the findings raise concern about how patients perceive the safety and efficacy of transvaginal mesh, regardless of indication. Neurourol. Urodynam. 36:329–332, 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-332
Number of pages4
JournalNeurourology and Urodynamics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • United States Food and Drug Administration
  • newspapers
  • pelvic organ prolapse
  • safety
  • surgical mesh
  • urinary incontinence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Urology


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