Urethral Slings - Minimally Invasive Option
Urinary incontinence slings - Known as urethral support slings by specialists, these soft and flexible surgical mesh systems cradle the urethra like a hammock, providing additional support and helping to restore it to its normal anatomical position.
Urethral support slings are proving to be an effective surgical procedure for stress urinary incontinence. In fact, clinical research shows that slings are up to 80 - 90% effective
Anatomical Pearls: Urethra and Stress Urinary Incontinence Treatment
Benefits of slings
If you’re considering a urethral support sling to treat stress urinary incontinence, consider these important benefits shared by women and their doctors:
- They’re effective for most women
- Many women regain complete bladder control within hours of their procedure
- In most cases, women can return to normal, non-strenuous activities shortly after the procedure
- Depending on the specific type of procedure, they may be performed under local, regional, or general anesthesia on an out-patient basis
- Incisions are small, reducing pain and recovery time
- The procedures can be performed in women who have scarring from previous pelvic surgeries
About the procedure
While each sling procedure varies slightly, placing the mesh generally involves these steps:
- A small incision or incisions will be made in the vagina, the abdomen, or where the top of your thigh meets your pelvic area.
- The mesh is threaded through the incision and positioned under the urethra to form a cradle of support
- The mesh allows your body tissues to grow into it, providing support to your urethra and securing the mesh in place.
What to expect
Following your sling procedure, your doctor may also advise the following:
- While your incisions will be small and should heal quickly, your doctor may prescribe pain medication for you if it’s needed. In addition, your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics.
- In some cases, a physician may insert a catheter to drain urine from your bladder temporarily. The catheter is usually removed before you leave the hospital or clinic. However, if you are unable to empty your bladder on your own, the catheter may remain in place for a short time until you’re able to do so.
- While you should avoid sexual intercourse, heavy lifting, and exercise for approximately four to six weeks following your procedure, you can usually return to your non-strenuous daily activities in a short time.
Your doctor will share more information about how you should care for yourself after your procedure. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
While some surgical mesh products are more flexible and porous than others, they all serve the same purpose—to restore the urethra to its correct anatomical position. However, some surgical mesh products are more effective than others. Be sure to ask your doctor about the product she/he recommends.