Background and objective The use of tension-free tape in the vagina is a relatively new surgical procedure for the treatment of urinary incontinence. Traditionally, the procedure is carried out using local anaesthesia and sedation. We aimed to assess the quality of anaesthesia obtained during insertion of tension-free vaginal tape using local anaesthetic infiltration and intravenous conscious sedation.
Methods Twenty-four patients were studied using intravenous midazolam, fentanyl and infiltration with 0.5% prilocaine and epinephrine. Visual analogue scores before operation were used to assess anxiety. The digit symbol substitution test was used before and after surgery to assess psychomotor recovery, and amnesia for the procedure was assessed by means of picture recall. A nurse, anaesthetist and surgeon independently assessed quality of anaesthesia based on vocalization, facial expression, movement and co-operation with incontinence testing.
Results The nurse, anaesthetist and surgeon reported good or excellent conditions in 18, 14 and 22 cases, respectively. There was no significant psychomotor impairment using the digit symbol substitution test, with mean (standard deviation) preoperative and postoperative scores of 22 (8) and 21 (7) correctly matched symbol digit pairs. There was a significant correlation between preoperative anxiety and intraoperative fentanyl requirement (r=0.48, P < 0.05).
Conclusion Satisfactory anaesthetic conditions can be achieved for the insertion of tension-free vaginal tape using local anaesthesia with sedation.