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Urinary incontinence - vaginal sling procedures

Contents of this page:

Alternative Names   

Pubo-vaginal sling; Transobdurator sling

Definition    Return to top

Vaginal sling procedures help control stress incontinence, urine leakage that can happen when you laugh, cough, sneeze, lift things, or exercise. They help close your urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside) and the bladder neck (the part of the bladder that connects to the urethra).

See also:

Description    Return to top

Vaginal sling procedures use either tissue from your body, tissue from someone else's body, or synthetic (man-made) material.

The doctor will make 1 small incision (cut) in your vagina and another small incision just above your pubic hair or in the creases of your thighs. Most of the operation is done through the cut in your vagina.

The doctor creates a sling from the body tissue or synthetic material. The sling passes under your urethra bladder neck. The doctor attaches the sling to tissues in your lower belly that are very strong.

Why the Procedure is Performed    Return to top

Vaginal sling procedures are done to treat stress incontinence.

Most of the time, your doctor will try drugs and bladder retraining before talking about surgery with you. If you have tried those things and you are still having problems with urine leakage, surgery may be your best option.

Risks    Return to top

Risks for any surgery are:

Risks for this surgery are:

Before the Procedure    Return to top

Always tell your doctor or nurse what drugs you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.

During the days before the surgery:

On the day of the surgery:

After the Procedure    Return to top

The sutures (stitches) in your vagina will dissolve after several weeks. After 1 to 3 months, you should be able to have sexual intercourse without any problems.

You may be in the hospital for less than 24 hours. Some people need to stay for 1 or 2 days.

Outlook (Prognosis)    Return to top

Urinary leakage gets better for most women. But you may still have some leakage. This may be because other problems are causing urinary incontinence. Over time, the leakage may come back.

References    Return to top

Oh S-J, Stoffel JT, McGuire EJ. Pubovaginal sling. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2007:chap 67.

Update Date: 1/13/2009

Updated by: Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Urology, Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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