What is midurethral sling?

Midurethral sling is the most common type of surgery used to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) in women. Stress urinary incontinence causes urine to leak when a person coughs, sneezes, laughs or does certain activities (running, exercising, etc.). SUI is a pelvic floor disorder, and occurs when muscles and tissues that support the pelvic floor are damaged. The pelvic floor includes the urethra, bladder, uterus and rectum and the area can be damaged from pregnancy, childbirth or aging. In cases when surgery is needed to treat SUI, a midurethral sling can provide a ribbon of support under the urethra to prevent it from moving during physical activity.

What can I expect during the procedure?

The standard midurethral sling is a small piece of synthetic mesh that is surgically placed under the urethra. However, it can also be performed by only using the patient’s own body tissues without the use of mesh (called an autologous fascial sling). In either case, the sling acts as a hammock to support the urethra and the neck of the bladder to prevent exertional leakage of urine. The standard mesh technique uses smaller incisions and has a quicker recovery process compared to the autologous fascial sling. There are pros and cons to both techniques that should be discussed with your surgeon.

The standard mesh sling takes about 30 minutes to perform and the autologous fascial sling takes about 2 hours. You can go home the same day as your surgery.

What are the benefits and risks of midurethral sling surgery?

Midurethral slings are an effective treatment for stress urinary incontinence. The vast majority of patients experience immediate benefits. There are some risks with any incontinence surgery to consider such as a small chance (less than 5%) that the mesh will erode through the vaginal tissue. Bleeding, infection, chronic vaginal pain, worsened urgency, urinary retention and other problems can also occur.

What can I expect after the procedure?

After your surgery, you may experience some discomfort for a few days or weeks. During this time, you will need to avoid putting stress on the surgical area. This includes excessive straining, heavy lifting and strenuous exercise. Rarely, some women may find it hard to urinate or may urinate more slowly after the procedure. In these cases, you may need to use a catheter until urinary function returns to normal.

Schedule an appointment in Southern California

If you suffer from stress urinary incontinence, schedule an appointment at South Bay Urology. From our office in Torrance, we can assess your symptoms and provide the most effective treatment option. Request an appointment online or give us a call at (310) 542-0199 to get started.

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