Information for the public

Benefits and risks

Benefits and risks

When NICE looked at the evidence, it decided that there was not enough evidence to know how well extraurethral (non-circumferential) retropubic adjustable compression devices work. The 7 studies that NICE looked at involved about 600 women.

Generally, the studies showed the following benefits:

  • less daily incontinence pad use for up to 6 years

  • improvement in symptoms of stress urinary incontinence

  • improved quality of life.

The studies showed that the risks included:

  • erosion of the urethra, which is when the device wears through the urethra wall

  • erosion of the port through the skin

  • no improvement in symptoms or problems with the devices (including pain, the balloons moving out of place or not working correctly) that led to them being removed

  • difficulty, urgency or pain when passing urine

  • damage to the bladder or urethra during surgery

  • urinary tract infections.

If you want to know more about the studies, see the guidance. Ask your health professional to explain anything you don't understand.

  • Information Standard