Sling Procedures for the Treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence: Comparison of National Practice Patterns between Urologists and Gynecologists

Maxwell B. James, Marissa C. Theofanides, Wilson Sui, Ifeanyi Onyeji, Gina M. Badalato, Doreen E. Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose Sling procedures, which have become the dominant method of surgical management of stress urinary incontinence, are frequently performed by urologists and gynecologists. Few studies investigating trends in surgical management have focused on differences in provision of care between the specialties. In this study we compared national practice patterns of sling procedures by provider type. Materials and Methods We analyzed the 2006 to 2013 ACS (American College of Surgeons) NSQIP (National Surgical Quality Improvement Program) database. CPT-4 codes were used to identify patients who underwent sling procedures and any concomitant pelvic floor procedures. Patient and operative characteristics were compared between urologists and gynecologists using bivariate and multivariate analysis. Results Our analytical cohort included 22,192 sling procedures, of which 5,718 (25.8%) and 16,474 (74.2%) were performed by urologists and gynecologists, respectively. Urologists performed a greater percent of autologous fascial sling procedures than gynecologists (1.16% vs 0.06%, p <0.001). Concomitant prolapse repair was performed in 8,664 patients (44.1%), including 954 (16.7%) of urologists and 7,710 (46.8%) of gynecologists. On multivariable analysis urology patients were less likely to undergo concomitant prolapse repair or hysterectomy. Urology patients were more likely to have hypertension and be older, have a higher ASA® (American Society of Anesthesiologists®) class and be current smokers. Conclusions Gynecologists perform the majority of sling procedures for stress urinary incontinence. While gynecologists perform more concomitant procedures, urologists tend to operate on older patients with more comorbidities. Urologists also perform a greater proportion of autologous fascial sling procedures. These findings demonstrate that, although gynecologists perform a greater number of surgeries, urologists treat a unique population of patients who require operative management of stress urinary incontinence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1386-1391
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • gynecology
  • physicians’
  • practice patterns
  • stress
  • suburethral slings
  • urinary incontinence
  • urology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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