Midurethral slings are used to correct urethral hypermobility in female stress urinary incontinence (SUI), defined as the complaint of involuntary urine leakage when the intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) is increased. Structural and thermal features influence their mechanical properties, which may explain postoperative complications, e.g., erosion and urethral obstruction. We studied the effect of the mesh stiffness on urethral mobility at Valsalva maneuver, under impairment of the supporting structures (levator ani and/or ligaments), by using a numerical model. For that purpose, we modeled a sling with “lower” versus “higher” stiffness and evaluated the mobility of the bladder and urethra, that of the urethrovesical junction (the α-angle), and the force exerted at the fixation of the sling. The effect of impaired levator ani or pubourethral ligaments (PUL) alone on the organs displacement and α-angle opening was similar, showing their important role together on urethral stabilization. When the levator ani and all the ligaments were simulated as impaired, the descent of the bladder and urethra went up to 25.02 mm, that of the bladder neck was 14.57 mm, and the α-angle was 129.7 deg, in the range of what was found in women with SUI. Both meshes allowed returning to normal positioning, although at the cost of higher force exerted by the mesh with higher stiffness (3.4 N against 2.3 N), which can relate to tissue erosion. This finite element analysis allowed mimicking the biomechanical response of the pelvic structures in response to changing a material property of the midurethral synthetic mesh.

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