Surgeries for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) usually involve creating a small hammock under the bladder neck or mid urethra to help support it. Depending on the specific type of surgery, the hammock can be constructed of tissue taken from another area of your own body, or a synthetic material. When your sphincter muscle clamps down on the urethra, it presses against this new “hammock” which provides resistance and clamps the urethra closed, helping to keep urine in.
The two most common surgeries for stress urinary incontinence (Burch and sling) have typically been done on women with stress urinary incontinence, but new evidence is also showing good success rates in men with stress incontinence, particularly after treatment for a prostate problem.
These procedures are typically safe for most men and women when performed by a skilled surgeon. They have been successfully performed on adult women of all ages, including women in their 90s. Eighty to ninety percent of people who have a surgery for stress incontinence experience improved continence.
The recovery time for these surgeries include a number of weeks of no heavy lifting, sexual intercourse, or strenuous exercise.
Surgery may not be a complete cure for your stress urinary incontinence symptoms. You may still need to wear an absorbent product, even if the incontinence is lessened.
As with any surgical procedure, these surgical treatments carry risks. Discuss these with your surgeon and ask all the questions that you may have.
Note: On April 16, 2019, the US FDA issued an order that all manufacturers of surgical mesh intended for transvaginal repair of anterior compartment prolapse (cystocele) to stop selling and distributing their products immediately. This may or may not impact the ability to have SUI procedures using mesh. Some countries outside the US have completely banned the use of mesh for both POP and SUI surgeries. You can read more here.
Medical Reviewer:Nejd F. Alskiafi, MD
Dr. Alsikafi is a 1997 graduate of the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago. Following medical school he was a resident in urology at the University of Chicago and completed his chief resident year in 2003. Afterwards he was accepted for a prestigious fellowship in urologic trauma and reconstruction at the University of California San Francisco. There he served as Clinical Instructor and was the author of many publications. Afterwards he joined the faculty at the University of Chicago as Clinical Associate and was an attending urologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago. In 2006 he was recruited to move his urologic trauma and reconstructive practice to the Loyola University Health System, where he currently serves as Clinical Assistant Professor. He is head of the Chicago Center for Urologic Reconstruction and Trauma. In late 2006 he joined the practice of Urology Specialists of Lake County. Dr. Alsikafi is board certified in adult and pediatric urology by the American Board of Urology and is an active member of the American Urological Association. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and is a member of many honorary and academic medical societies.