Bladder Incontinence Surgery

Bladder Incontinence Surgery

One of the treatment options to deal with incontinence is bladder surgery. However, it is important to understand that this option is usually only considered as a last resort. The good news is that if you do need surgery then there are several different kinds that can help to relieve stress incontinence. Stress incontinence is the most surgically treatable form of incontinence because it results from having weakened pelvic floor muscles. When these muscles have weakened they allow the bladder and urethra to drop. When surgery is performed it puts these organs back in to the proper position. The result is that patients no longer have leakage when they sneeze, cough, laugh, or do other strenuous physical activity.

Keep in mind that long before surgery can be considered patients will need an accurate diagnosis. Immediately upon noticing incontinence symptoms you should seek a medical evaluation. This way the doctor can determine what is causing your incontinence and recommend appropriate treatment. It is also important to keep in mind that the sooner you seek treatment for incontinence the less likely it will be that you need surgery. Finally, before a surgical determination can be made you will need to explore other treatment options and discuss with your doctor what the realistic options for bladder surgery are.

The different surgical choices are-
  • Tension-free vaginal tape (TVT)-This is the most common kind of surgery that is used to treat stress incontinence. The doctor will use a mesh tape that is positioned under the urethra like a sling or a hammock to support it and return it to its normal position.  Most of the time the surgeon is able to insert the tape through very small incisions that are made in the vagina and the pubic hair line.
  • Retro pubic suspension-This type of bladder surgery provides lift to the sagging bladder neck and urethra by attaching their supporting tissues to the pubic bone or tough ligaments.
  • Urethral sling-As this surgery is done the surgeon fashions a piece of muscle, ligament, or tendon tissue (or synthetic material), into a sling that lifts the urethra back into a normal position.
  • Sacral nerve stimulation (SNS)-This is one of the newest bladder surgery techniques. As this is done the doctor puts an electrical stimulator under your skin above your buttocks. This stimulator looks like a pacemaker. It is attached to electrodes that send pulses to a nerve in your lower back (sacrum). The sacral nerve plays a role in bladder storage and emptying.
Many people mistakenly assume that bladder surgery will take care of the problem of incontinence. However, you should keep in mind that bladder surgery works best on stress incontinence. Other forms of incontinence do not respond as well. In addition, you will most likely have had to try other forms of therapy (and show that they don’t work), before considering surgery. Ultimately the type of bladder surgery that you have will depend your health status, doctor’s recommendation and even your preference.

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The Caregiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their care giving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The Caregiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wis. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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