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Postoperative magnetic resonance imaging characterization of slings for female stress urinary incontinence


  • Conflict of interest: none.

  • Linda Brubaker led the review process.



The aim was to characterize different types of slings such as autologous rectus fascia (ARF), porcine dermis (PD) and tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) in the early postoperative period with regard to its visibility and location by using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Materials and Methods

Between October 2003 and June 2007, total of 60 patients underwent MRI after a sling procedure. Thirty-six patients had ARF slings. Twelve patients had a PD sling and 12 had a TVT. All patients had pelvic MRI 6–8 hr postoperatively. Six patients in the ARF sling group had both preoperative and postoperative images at 6 hr and 3 months. MRI images were analyzed with regard to visibility and location. All data were collected prospectively.


ARF slings were clearly visible in both T1W and T2W images. ARF appeared as low signal intensity area with surrounding high signal intensity due to fat attached to the rectus fascia in the MRI images obtained 6 hr after the procedure. Although the fatty component of the sling was diminished but was still visible on MRI scan 3 months postoperatively. On the other hand PD and TVT sling materials were not visible by MRI. Most of the ARF slings were located just below the bladder neck.


The ARF sling is easily identifiable on MRI in the early postoperative period primarily because of the fat attached to the autologous rectus fascia. However, depiction of the PD and TVT slings in the early postoperative period is very poor. Neurourol. Urodynam. 30:108–112, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.