Are Bladder Slings Safe?
If you watch television for any length of time, there’s a good chance you’ve seen at least one commercial for a law firm talking about the dangers of bladder slings. These commercials tend to give an impression that every bladder sling procedure is likely to end in some sort of medical horror story. But in reality, bladder slings are very safe, and they’ve been used to successfully treat urinary stress incontinence for many years.
As we age, gravity, childbirth, and weight gain can cause the bladder and the urethra (the tube urine flows through) to weaken and shift downward. Bladder slings, or urethral slings, are used to hold the urethra in its normal position and to place gentle pressure on the urethra to help it prevent urine from leaking out. The slings are attached to the wall of the abdomen, and may be made of natural or synthetic materials. Bladder sling surgery, also called bladder lift surgery, is more complicated than other types of treatments, so your doctor will try other approaches, like medications, before recommending surgery.
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Can there be Complications During Bladder Sling Surgery?
As with any surgery, there can be complications from bladder sling surgery. Some complications include difficulty urinating, especially immediately following the surgery, bleeding, infection, and the risks that accompany general anesthesia. Your doctor will discuss all the risks with you before you undergo surgery. In some cases, your doctor may recommend using your own tissue (ligaments, tendons or muscle) to create the sling instead of mesh so there is no risk of rejection and to reduce any risk of erosion of the urethra or vagina. About 80 percent of incontinence cases completely resolve after the surgery, making the risk of bladder sling complications worth it for many people.
There are cases where it does not make sense to have bladder sling surgery. The positive results of bladder sling surgery are reversed in pregnancy and childbirth, so women who plan to have children should not have bladder sling surgery.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Bladder Sling Surgery?
Patients treated with a urethral sling can expect a short recovery period and usually go home a few hours after the procedure. Most patients can return to work in two to three days, but exercise should be avoided for several weeks after the procedure. In addition, most doctors recommend avoiding swimming, baths, and intercourse for two to six weeks after bladder sling surgery.
Don’t be scared off by a television commercial. If you’re experiencing incontinence, the first step toward feeling better and controlling your symptoms is speaking with a doctor and having a complete evaluation. Or, try our free online quiz to determine your incontinence risk. Today, there are so many innovative treatments, non-surgical as well as surgical, so there’s no reason to suffer from the inconvenience and embarrassment of bladder or bowel leakage. Call our discrete medical concierge at (888) 741-6403 to schedule your appointment.