AIMS: An increasing number of diagnostic and therapeutic medical devices are available to help patients and physicians manage pelvic floor symptoms in women. Many of these are presented at scientific conferences, and in the absence of a gold standard for evaluation, marketing has become more prominent than scientific evaluation. The goal of this study was to (a) provide an overview of pelvic floor devices for women that have been presented at recent annual meetings of leading scientific societies and (b) to summarize and review the scientific evidence underpinning these devices.
METHODS: Manual searches were performed of all abstracts presented in 2016 and 2017 at annual meetings of the International Continence Society, the International Urogynecological Association, the European Association of Urology, and the American Urological Association. The exhibition floor of the 2017 International Continence Society was also searched. Subsequently, literature searches of both the MEDLINE and Embase databases were performed in November 2018 to identify original full-text publications related to the identified devices.
RESULTS: We identified 11 devices from these sources, which were mainly used for the control of urinary incontinence. Only seven of these pelvic floor devices were covered by publications, with no full-text records identified for the remaining four devices.
CONCLUSIONS: Sample sizes were small and there was a lack of convincing evidence for most devices. Despite this, many devices were available in the market. Our findings indicate that the process for introducing these new devices is in stark contrast with the strict requirements for introducing new drug classes.