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Media Has Strong Influence On Public's Perception of Vaginal Mesh

San Diego, CA, May 3, 2013- Despite the general public’s exposure to advertisements marketing various transvaginal mesh lawsuits, many patients indicate they would still consider mesh if advised by a physician, according to a new study at the 108th Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association. The study will be presented to reporters during a special press conference at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA on Monday, May 6 at 9:30 a.m.

Transvaginal mesh was introduced in the mid-1990’s and was originally considered a major breakthrough for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.  However, in recent years, synthetic transvaginal mesh has come under increased scrutiny, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issuing safety communications in 2011 about its use. Following the FDA communications, emphasis on lawsuits over mesh increased in the media. Researchers at Louisiana State University and the Medical University of South Carolina assessed whether these ads are affecting patient opinions on mesh.

According to surveys completed by female patients in urology and urogynecology clinics at the two academic institutions, 62 percent of patients cited such media ads as their initial source of information about mesh and 32 percent indicated media as being their strongest initial influence on their opinion of mesh; however when asked about mesh, nearly 10 percent said mesh safety was dependent on factors related to the patient and 77 percent were unsure, but would consider mesh if advised by a physician. “Mesh remains an option when used appropriately and in the right patient,” said Tomas L. Griebling, MD, MPH, professor and vice-chair of the Department of Urology and faculty associate in the Landon Center on Aging at the University of Kansas.“As a surgeon, we encourage our patients to educate themselves and ask about all treatment options; however we must be aware of the effect these ads have on patient opinion. Patients are individuals and the best treatment is a decision made between a woman and her surgeon.”

NOTE TO REPORTERS: Experts are available to discuss this study outside normal briefing times. To arrange an interview with an expert, please contact the AUA Communications Office at the number above or e-mail

About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is a leading advocate for the specialty of urology, and has more than 19,000 members throughout the world. The AUA is a premier urologic association, providing invaluable support to the urologic community as it pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care through education, research and the formulation of health policy.

Christine Frey, AUA