Overview of Urinary Stress Incontinence
Urinary stress incontinence is a condition in which a woman leaks urine from the bladder. This leakage is involuntary and usually occurs suddenly when the woman experiences stress on the bladder from coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercise or any other activity that places stress on the bladder. Urinary stress incontinence can result from childbirth, pelvic surgery (i.e. a hysterectomy) or aging. These factors can contribute to a weakened pelvic floor and urethral sphincter muscles, which in turn can cause involuntary bladder leakage.
Stress Urinary Incontinence Treatment Options
Urinary incontinence surgery is often the most effective treatment for urinary stress incontinence. The most common surgical solution is a bladder sling. A bladder sling is a net-like device that is designed to support the part of the urethra or bladder that experiences tension. This sling prevents the pressure from straining the urethra. For many women, it significantly improves bladder control or even stops leaking entirely.
There are a number of different types of slings used to treat urinary stress incontinence. The following are the most commonly used slings in the treatment of stress incontinence. The first type of bladder sling is known as the tension-free vaginal tape (TVT). A TVT is a vaginal bladder sling made from mesh that supports the middle of the urethra. The second type of sling is called the transobturator tape (TOT). A TOT is a sling that supports the bladder itself.
While the TVT and the TOT are still frequently used to treat urinary stress incontinence, medical researchers have recently developed an additional type of bladder sling known as the single-incision sling. The single-incision sling is placed near the middle of the urethra, similar to a TVT sling. However, the process of implanting a single-incision sling is much simpler, which decreases the risk of injury to the bladder or the surrounding organs or muscles.
Placement of the Single-Incision Bladder Sling
The single-incision bladder sling surgery requires local anesthesia. The surgeon will make one small incision in the vagina and then surgically attach the sling inside of the body. After the sling is attached and adjusted, scar tissue will form around the areas where the sling is attached, helping to secure it in place. The entire procedure only takes approximately 10 to 30 minutes.
Because the single-incision bladder sling surgery is minimally invasive, the recovery period is usually brief. Recovery from all minimally invasive slings is quick and relatively pain free. Most patients will leave within an hour or two after the procedure and will return to most normal daily activities within 24 to 48 hours. Certain activities like heavy lifting or sexual intercourse are discouraged during the first four to six weeks after placement.
Bladder sling surgery has a success rate of around 90 percent, making it a good option for most people suffering from urinary stress incontinence. Like any surgery, there are risks associated with bladder sling surgery, including:
- Detachment of the bladder sling, requiring additional corrective surgery
- Swelling of vaginal tissue
Getting a Single-Incision Bladder Sling
The first step to curing your urinary stress incontinence is to make an appointment with one of our physicians to be assessed. If our physician determines that your urine leakage is due to urinary stress incontinence, he or she will discuss the benefits of surgically correcting the problem with a bladder sling, as well as answer any questions that you have.
Call Dr. Ghozland’s Santa Monica office today to schedule a free consultation.