Objective To determine the effectiveness of laparoscopic colposuspension for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence.
Design Systematic review.
Setting Teaching hospitals.
Population Women with symptoms or urodynamic diagnosis of stress, urge or mixed incontinence.
Methods Randomised and ‘quasi-randomised trials’ in women with symptoms or urodynamic diagnoses of stress, urge or mixed incontinence including laparoscopic surgery in at least one arm of the trial were identified from the Cochrane Incontinence Review Group's Specialised Register of Controlled Trials.
Main outcome measures Subjective cure, objective cure, quality of life measurements and surgical outcome measures.
Results Eight trials met the inclusion criteria. Five trials compared laparoscopic (n= 233) with open (n= 254) colposuspension. Risk of a positive stress test at follow up was significantly less in the open group (relative risk [RR] 0.89, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.82 to 0.98). When one poor quality trial was excluded from the analysis, the relative risk was still less in the open group, but was no longer significant (RR 0.91, 95% CI 0.82 to 1.01). If considered as risk difference there is a 9% significantly higher risk of failure for laparoscopic colposuspension, however, excluding one poor quality trial, this risk of failure is non-significant at 8%. Analysis of subjective cure showed no difference between the groups. A trend was shown towards a higher complication rate, less post-operative pain, shorter hospital stay and time to return to normal function for laparoscopic compared with open colposuspension. Three trials compared different methods of laparoscopic colposuspension. Data from these trials could not be combined in view of the differences in the trials. Based on a single trial, two sutures were better than one. Sutures were as effective as mesh/staples. No conclusion could be drawn about the benefits of transperitoneal or extraperitoneal access.
Conclusions It is difficult to make valid conclusions as the evidence is limited by short term follow up and small numbers of trials and participants. However, it is possible that no difference exists between laparoscopic and open colposuspension for either objective or subjective cure. Further, well designed and adequately powered randomised controlled trials are required.