Urinary incontinence is more than the uncomfortable, frequent, urgency to relieve your bladder; it can govern the daily lives of millions of women. Experiencing bladder leakage when you laugh, cough, lift heavy objects, or even sneeze can impact the way you plan your daily life. While you may be able to monitor and control your incontinence when you are at home, but going out in public can be very stressful when you are always looking for the nearest restrooms.
The two types of surgery, most performed for urinary incontinence, are the mid-urethral sling and traditional sling. Both types of surgery are performed in a hospital. Mid-urethral sling surgery is done as an out-patient procedure, and you can go home the same after recovery and observation of your vital signs. If you need to have a traditional sling surgery, you may need to stay overnight in the hospital for observation.
This type of surgery has three different ways to be performed, and all three methods only require about 30 minutes for completion. You will be given a general anesthesia so that you will be asleep during the operation and not feel any pain.
Tension Free Vaginal Tape Method:
Using surgical instruments, your surgeon makes one small incision inside your vagina, under the urethra, and two small incisions above the pubic bone. A needle is used to place a sling under the vagina, behind the pubic bone. Your surgeon will use self-dissolving sutures or skin glue to close the incisions at the end of the operation.
For this procedure, two small incisions are made inside your vagina, one on each side of the labia, under the urethra. Surgical instruments are used to place the sling under the urethra. Your surgeon will use self-dissolving sutures or skin glue to close the incisions at the end of the surgery.
Mini Single Incision Method:
For this procedure, a single, small incision is made inside your vagina. Surgical instruments are used to place the sling under the urethra. No sutures are used for this operation because the scar tissue that will develop around the sling will hold it in place. Skin glue or self-dissolving sutures are used to close the incision at the end of the surgery.
This type of surgery is more complicated than the mid-urethral sling procedures and may take up to one hour for completion. A traditional operation uses a strip of your skin tissue, or donated skin tissue, for the sling. Your surgeon will make one incision in your vagina and one incision in the belly area. Using surgical instruments, the sling will be inserted through the stomach incision and then stitched to the inside of the stomach wall. The incisions will be closed with self-dissolving sutures. If required, your surgeon will place a catheter in the bladder to help eliminate urine while you are not able to use the bathroom. You will be in a recovery area for observation before being moved to your hospital room for an overnight stay.
Complete recovery from sling surgery can take a few weeks. During this time you should not lift heavy objects, engage in strenuous exercises, or strain when going to the bathroom. You may experience pain in the vagina area for a few days. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication to relieve this pain. You will need to shower for about six weeks while you are healing. This is because nothing should be placed in the vagina during this time. Schedule a follow-up appointment with your surgeon to ensure that you are healing without any complications. Your surgeon will tell you when you can return to work, resume daily activities, and have sex.