Incontinence Surgery

Surgery may be recommended for severe cases of urinary incontinence that are not relieved by any other type of treatment. Surgery is performed to help restore the body's natural functioning of the urinary tract. Many of today's surgical procedures are minimally invasive and offer reliable, lasting results with few complications.

Urethral Support Systems

When the tissues of the urethra become weakened and are not functioning properly, urine can sometimes leak out through the urethral opening because those muscles are unable to close tightly. Without the needed support for those weakened urethral tissues, urinary incontinence is inevitable.

An effective surgical approach that is widely used today to restore continence involves the implanting of a urethral sling. A sling is a narrow strip of material that the surgeon positions around the urethra to support its natural tissues, allowing it to function as intended. The implanted sling acts much like a hammock, providing extra support of the urethra to prevent accidental urine leakage.

Overview of the Procedure

In most cases, a urethral sling can be implanted within about 30 minutes. Because the procedure is minimally invasive your physician will choose the anesthesia best suited to your condition and general health: either local, regional, or general anesthesia. Once the sling is implanted, but before you leave the operating room, your doctor may make adjustments to the sling, allowing it to anchor in place just under the skin surface of your abdomen. You may be able to return home in just a few hours after the implant is performed.

After the Procedure

As with all surgery, a sling procedure carries some potential risk. Although infrequent, side effects can include bladder injury, post-op discomfort, difficulty urinating, and infection. Be sure to speak with your doctor to ensure that you fully understand all possible risks involved.

What Results can be Expected?

Urethral slings have had an impressive performance over the years. They have been used successfully in tens of thousands of patients in the U.S. and around the world, and studies have shown that on average, 83%-85% of patients are dry after treatment. Each patient is unique, however and your physician can give you a more specific view of what your expectations should be.

Dr. Mary Mahern, MD
Dr. Clark Brittain, DO

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