Female urinary incontinence (urinary leakage) refers to the involuntary loss of urine from the bladder. It can be a cause of anxiety, social embarrassment and may limit ones social and daily activities. Fortunately, most conditions of urinary incontinence can be successfully managed.
There are two main types of urinary incontinence:
1) Urgency (Overactive Bladder) – is most often described as having difficulty maintaining ones urine on the way to the restroom. Patients usually describe frequency, urgency of urination as well as nighttime urination. Urgency incontinence is usually treated with medication.
Stress Urinary Incontinence (cough or activity related) – is most often described as loss of urine during coughing, sneezing, laughing or with other physical activities such as running, jumping, exercise, etc.
The Mid-urethral sling procedures is considered the GOLD standard operation that is designed to help women with stress urinary incontinence.
Stress incontinence is leakage of urine with every day activities such as coughing, sneezing or exercise. It is a very common problem that affects 1 in 3 women. Stress incontinence may be improved with pelvic floor exercise and lifestyle modifications, but if these strategies fail then surgery may be recommended for you. The mid-urethral sling is the most offered procedure.
The operation involves placing a sling of polypropylene mesh about 1 cm wide between the middle portion urethra and the skin of the vagina. The urethra is the pipe through which the bladder empties. Normally, muscles and ligaments close firmly when straining or exercising to prevent leakage. Damage or weakening of these ligaments from childbirth or aging can result in urine leakage. Placing a sling underneath the urethra improves the support and reduces or stops the leaking.
This procedure is typically performed in the out-patient surgical center setting under sedation and local anaesthetic.
There is a minimally invasive procedure with little downtime. There is a short recovery, and typically you are back to work or normal activity within 4-7 days depending on the activity. Heavy lifting and sexual activity are the only limitations for the first 2 weeks.
There are rare but reported risks of pelvic pain, vaginal pain, groin or leg pain after the surgery which most may be self limited.
Dr. Pezzella has performed over 1000 slings and has a 95% success rate and it is very safe.
Patient’s have described the procedure as “painless’, “didn’t even know they had the procedure done, other that the fact that they weren’t leaking anymore”, and they have now “Regained their Confidence!”