What is Bladder Sling Surgery?

If the tube where urine flows out of your body, or urethra, does not close properly and straining causes it to shift out of place, bladder sling surgery may be recommended for you. In this procedure, the surgeon uses synthetic mesh, your own tissue, or donor tissue to create a sling under the area where the bladder meets the urethra, called the bladder neck. The sling prevents leakage by holding the bladder in place and keeping the urethra closed, especially when coughing or sneezing.

For men, the incision is placed between the base of the scrotum and anus. The incision can be made on the abdomen or in the vagina for women. If your surgeon is using your own tissue to form the sling, she will most likely perform the procedure through the abdominal incision. This approach requires a hospital stay of a few days and down time of a few weeks. Surgery to insert synthetic slings is typically done vaginally. It is performed at an outpatient facility, and most normal activities can be resumed within seven to ten days.

Although recovery is shorter with synthetic slings than with slings made from the patient's own tissue, synthetic slings are associated with a complication known as mesh erosion. When synthetic mesh erodes, it pushes through the vaginal wall and sometimes becomes exposed, causing long-term pain and infections. If this complication occurs, you may need to have another surgery to remove the mesh.

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