Sling Surgery for Incontinence
If you’re like the millions of Americans living with urinary incontinence, we know how disruptive it can be to your life and peace of mind. That’s why Heartland Regional Medical Center’s urologist offers everything you need to take control.
We specialize in the newest techniques, including bladder sling, a common outpatient procedure that provides a protective “hammock” to help prevent urinary leaks. It is especially effective for stress incontinence, where leakage is caused by certain movements like coughing, sneezing or lifting.
About the Procedure
At your initial consultation, we may first recommend nonsurgical options, including bladder retraining; Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic muscles or medication. But, if you’ve tried those without success, you may be a good candidate for sling surgery.
During the procedure, your surgeon creates and attaches a sling made of mesh or human tissue. The technique is different for women and men – both which have shown to be highly effective for long-term relief from stress incontinence:
Sling for Women
Your doctor makes one small incision inside the vagina, and one just above the pubic hair line or in the groin. The sling is passed under your urethra (the tube that urine passes through) and bladder neck (the part of the bladder that connects to the urethra). It is then either attached to the strong tissues in your lower belly or left in place to let your body naturally incorporate it into your tissue.
Often, Heartland Regional Medical Center’s urologist can create a tension-free sling. That means that instead of using stitches, body tissue holds the sling in place. Eventually scar tissue forms in and around the sling to keep it from moving.
Sling for Men
Your urologist makes a small incision between the scrotum and anus and puts the sling around part of the urethral bulb (the enlarged end of the urethra in men). This will squeeze and lift the urethra, which helps prevent leaks.
Recovery & Follow-Up Care
We usually perform the procedure on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia, allowing you to leave the hospital the same day and recover comfortably at home. In certain cases, you may need to spend a night or two at the hospital.
Recovery time varies, usually around two to four weeks of healing before returning to activities that include heavy lifting or exercise. It may be up to six weeks before you’re able to resume sexual activity. You may need a temporary catheter after surgery to help drain urine while you heal.
Overall, sling surgery is generally considered safe and effective. As with any surgery, your urologist at Heartland Regional Medical Center will discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure and help you make the best choice for your health and life.
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