Urethral suspension is a surgery to correct stress incontinence in women. The procedure creates support for the tube that carries urine out of the body. The tube is called the urethra.
Female Bladder and Urethra
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The goal of this surgery is to place a sling under the urethra. The sling will close off the urethra during stressors like laughing or sneezing. This will stop the uncontrolled leaking of urine.
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a urethral suspension, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Sometimes, a surgical mesh is used in this procedure. This mesh has been linked to some problems during recovery. Talk to your doctor about medical devices used during surgery.
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
Prior pelvic or vaginal surgery may increase the risk of complications.
Your doctor will try to find out why you are leaking urine through some or all of the following:
Steps to take leading up to surgery:
One or two small incisions will be made in the abdominal wall and vagina. A sling will be placed under the urethra and stitched into place. The sling can be made out of a synthetic material or tissue from your own body.
After surgery, you will be monitored in a recovery room. You will most likely have a catheter in place to drain your urine.
Anesthesia will block pain during the surgery. After surgery, you may experience some pain or soreness. You will be given pain medication to relieve the discomfort.
You may be sent home the same day.
At first, your urine may look bloody. This will resolve over time.
When you are able to empty your bladder completely, the catheter will be removed. You may be asked to get up and walk around.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
Certain steps will allow healing to take place. General steps include:
To help ensure a smooth recovery, follow your doctor's instructions.
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
Urology Care Foundation
Canadian Continence Foundation
Canadian Urological Association
Incontinence. American Urological Association Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=143. Updated March 2013. Accessed October 28, 2014.
Surgical mesh. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm142636.htm. Updated October 6, 2014. Accessed October 28, 2014.
Surgical treatment for female stress urinary incontinence. National Association for Continence website. Available at: http://www.nafc.org/bladder-bowel-health/types-of-incontinence/stress-incontinence/surgical-treatment-for-female-stress-urinary-incontinence. Accessed October 28, 2014.
Townsend MK, Danforth KN, et al. Physical activity and incident urinary incontinence in middle-aged women. J Urol. 2008;179:1012-1016; discussion 1016-1017.
Urinary incontinence. American Association of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/urinary-incontinence.html. Updated April 2014. Accessed October 28, 2014.
6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
Last reviewed December 2014 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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