Stress urinary incontinence surgery in the United States

L Elaine Waetjen, Leslee L. Subak, Hui Shen, Feng Lin, Tsung Hsi Wang, Eric Vittinghoff, Jeanette S. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To describe the prevalence, regional rates and demographic characteristics, morbidity, and mortality of stress urinary incontinence surgeries in the United States. METHODS: We used data from the 1998 National Hospital Discharge Survey and the 1998 National Census to calculate rates of surgeries for stress urinary incontinence by age, race, and region of the United States. From these data we estimated morbidity and mortality associated with incontinence surgery. RESULTS: In 1998, approximately 135,000 women had inpatient surgery for stress urinary incontinence in the United States. The mean age of these women was 54.0 (±13.3) years. The South had the highest rate of surgery (14.8 per 10,000 women), whereas the Northeast had the lowest (9.8 per 10,000). In the 79% of discharges for which race was stated, the surgery rate for whites (11.6 per 10,000) was almost five times greater than for blacks (2.6 per 10,000), whereas the perioperative complication rate for blacks was twice that for whites (20.6% compared with 9.7%). Almost 70% of incontinence surgeries were done in combination with other major gynecologic procedures. For all incontinence surgeries, approximately 18% had complications, and mortality was rare (0.01%). CONCLUSION: Stress urinary incontinence surgery is common, especially among white women. Differences in regional and racial surgical rates may represent differences in physician practice, patient expectations, and access to or utilization of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-676
Number of pages6
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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