Although most patients go through TVT operation without any difficulties, in common with any surgical procedure there are some risks.
It is sometimes difficult to empty your bladder completely following surgery. The amount of urine left in the bladder after trying to pass urine yourself is known as the residual volume. The residual urine usually decreases quite quickly after the bladder has had a chance to settle down after the operation.
If you are unable to pass urine within approximately four hours of the operation, nursing staff on the ward will pass a catheter into your bladder to drain the urine. The catheter will be removed immediately, (often called “in out” catheterisation). If you are unable to pass urine after a further 4-6 hours the “in out” catheterisation will be repeated.
This procedure can be repeated until you are able to pass urine normally.
Very occasionally, patients are unable to pass urine, or are unable to empty the bladder completely. These patients can therefore be taught to perform the catheterisation themselves. This is a simple, safe procedure to carry out and is known as Clean Intermittent Self Catheterisation or CISC. For a small proportion of women this could result in a long-term need to carry out intermittent self catheterization. This is very unlikely in women whose bladder behaves normally before surgery. If this happens, your consultant may discuss the option of dividing the tape; in which case they would also explain the likelihood of your leakage returning.
If there has been damage to the bladder this is easily dealt with and heals quickly. A catheter may be required for a short time after your operation, you would usually be able to go home the next day.
There is a very small risk of bowel damage or blood vessel damage at the time of insertion of the tape. The risk is thought to be around 1 in 10,000 operations. Your surgeon will discuss this with you in more detail.
As the tape is made from synthetic material there is a small risk that the vaginal skin may not heal immediately, or of it eroding into the vagina at a later stage. This can cause vaginal discharge and/or you or your partner may experience discomfort during intercourse. The problem can be helped by restitching the vaginal skin or by trimming the mesh.
The most common problems are associated with wound or urine infections. Urine infections may occur after the surgery and can easily be treated with antibiotics.
A very small number of women, less than 2%, describe a problem with chronic pain after this operation.
A haematoma or bruise may form on the lower abdomen, which will gradually fade over approximately seven to ten days.