What is Bladder Suspension Surgery?

Women who suffer from stress urinary incontinence may benefit from bladder suspension surgery. This procedure relieves pressure on the muscles supporting the bladder by lifting its base (called the bladder neck). With this area lifted, the muscles are better able to prevent urine leakage. Bladder suspension is often done using either the Burch procedure or the Marshall-Marchetti-Krantz (MMK) procedure.

The Burch procedure uses sutures to attach vaginal tissue around the bladder neck to the ligaments near the pubic bone, whereas in the MMK procedure, vaginal tissue is attached directly to the pubic bone. Both types of bladder suspension may be performed using the traditional or laparoscopic approach.

If done traditionally, either a large abdominal incision or a small vaginal incision is made, and a hospital stay of one to three days is usually necessary. Laparoscopic bladder suspension requires three or four tiny cuts on the abdomen where surgical instruments are passed through, allowing the surgeon to suspend the bladder without large incisions. This approach is typically done at an outpatient facility, so no hospital stay is necessary.

While it takes about six weeks for most of the healing to occur after the abdominal approach, you can expect to return to work within seven to ten days after the vaginal and laparoscopic procedures. Lifting objects over 15 pounds should be avoided for three months after a vaginal bladder suspension, but after an abdominal bladder suspension, lifting objects over 20 pounds is never recommended.

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