Stress urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine during physical activity such as coughing, laughing, or lifting. The muscles that support the urethra (the small tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body) and bladder neck (the opening that connects the urethra to the bladder) have weakened, causing the urethra to drop during physical activity, resulting in urine leaking out of the body.
A minimally invasive sling procedure is designed to provide a ribbon of support under the urethra to prevent it from dropping during physical activity. The dropping of your urethra out of the correct anatomical position may be what causes your incontinence. Providing support that mimics the normal anatomy should prevent urine from leaking or reduce the amount of leakage.
Your sling procedure with a mid-urethral sling system will take an estimated 30-45 minutes. Your doctor will determine the type of anesthesia you will have during the procedure. Once the anesthesia takes effect, your doctor will begin the procedure.
A small incision will be made in the vaginal area. Next, the synthetic mesh is placed to create a “sling” of support around the urethra. Your doctor will adjust the mesh tension so that the leakage of urine is reduced. When your doctor is satisfied with the position of the mesh, he or she will close and bandage the small incisions in the groin area and the top of the vaginal canal.
To help with the healing process, a catheter may be placed into your bladder. The catheter will be connected to a drainage bag, which will collect your urine. The catheter will be removed within a short period of time. After the procedure is complete, specialized nurses will monitor you. You will probably be discharged within 24 hours.
Before your discharge from the hospital, your doctor and nurse will provide you information on what to expect and how to care for yourself during your recovery time. Below a few things included in these instructions: