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Saturday 1 May is Mesh Awareness Day, and the beginning of Mesh Awareness Month.

This is a time to acknowledge the many women whose lives and wellbeing have been impacted due to complications associated with pelvic mesh.

This year’s mesh awareness anniversary is also an opportunity to highlight the significant initiatives that have been undertaken to safeguard women from similar experiences.

A Senate Inquiry (2018) into pelvic mesh complications prompted important changes to the nation’s health system, including the establishment of a $2.3m Commonwealth-funded clinical registry. The Australasian Pelvic Floor Procedure Registry (APFPR), hosted by Monash University, is a national quality initiative that aims to register all women undergoing pelvic mesh procedures.

The registry collects information regarding these procedures from hospitals, surgeons, and the women themselves, including information about the mesh devices used, and any complications. It is currently operational in Victoria and New South Wales and is being rolled out nationally.

“The APFPR will monitor all mesh products and related procedures, with the aim of identifying future complications,” said Professor Susannah Ahern, Chair and Academic Lead for the APFPR.

“This data will be analysed and reported publicly in a non-identifiable way so that women considering these procedures in the future can better understand the benefits and potential risks.

“The APFPR will also support the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to collect information about mesh-related complications to assist in verifying the risk-benefit profile of the mesh devices, and so that clinicians, researchers, and affected women have a much greater amount of information on which to base decisions regarding clinical procedures,” Professor Ahern said.

Mesh is a surgical device used to treat symptoms associated with urinary incontinence or vaginal prolapse that have resulted from weakened pelvic floor muscles. Women about to undergo pelvic floor procedures are encouraged to speak to their surgeon about participating in the registry.

“Participation in the APFPR by as many women and surgeons as possible will maximise our ability to improve health outcomes,” Professor Ahern said.

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MEDIA: Emily Broadbent 0413 133 627