Objective: To improve women's experiences with mesh mid-urethral sling (MUS) surgery for treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI), we sought to qualitatively examine patient perspectives of MUS surgery, organize resulting patient-derived themes, and present our findings as potential springboards for future research and quality improvement efforts. Methods: We conducted semi-structured focus groups and interviews of patients who had undergone mesh MUS surgery at a single tertiary referral institution. Discussions were recorded, transcribed, de-identified, and analyzed using deductive and inductive content analysis. Two researchers independently performed line-by-line coding which was verified by two additional researchers. Results: Eleven women participated. Most sought SUI care after becoming frustrated with their symptoms. However, some participants experienced barriers to care or dismissal of their symptoms by their physicians. While participants expected improvements in SUI symptoms after MUS surgery, some expected improvement or resolution of other pelvic floor-related issues such as bowel symptoms. Despite having improved SUI symptoms, participants described non-SUI symptoms as negative outcomes from their MUS surgery. Overall, participants wished SUI-associated embarrassment could be lessened and suggested public service announcements to help normalize discussion of SUI symptoms. Conclusion: Obtaining first-hand information from SUI patients who have undergone MUS surgery provides insights into what matters to patients. Information from this study can help support further investigation into barriers to care for SUI patients and further study into improving counseling on goals and expectations of MUS surgery. The themes complement the current knowledge on MUS by providing insights that can only be collected through open-ended inquiry.
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