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. Most of these commercials are produced in such a way that they give an impression that every bladder sling procedure is likely to end in some sort of medical horror story. But actually, bladder slings are very safe, and they’ve been used to successfully treat urinary stress incontinence for many years. Here’s the real scoop:
As we age, gravity, childbirth, weight gain and other factors 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.
Can there be Complications During Bladder Sling Surgery?
Sure there can be complications with any surgery. Some of the complications include difficulty urinating, especially immediately following the surgery, bleeding and infection, as well as the risks that accompany general anesthesia. Your doctor will discuss all the risks with you before you undergo surgery. And there are benefits; about 80 percent of incontinence cases completely resolve after the surgery.
Bladder sling surgery is more complicated than other types of treatments, so your doctor will try other approaches, like medications, before recommending surgery. When possible, your doctor may recommend using your own tissue (ligaments, tendons or muscle) to create the sling so they’re no risk of rejection and to reduce any risk of erosion of the urethra or vagina.
The take-home message: Don’t be scared off by a television commercial. If you’ve been experiencing incontinence, the first step toward feeling better and controlling your symptoms is speaking with a doctor and having a complete evaluation. Today, there are so many innovative treatments, non-surgical as well as surgical, there’s no reason to suffer from the inconvenience and embarrassment of bladder or bowel leakage. Call us today at (800) 771-1953 and schedule your evaluation.