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What is urinary incontinence surgery?

Woman talking to doctor

Urinary incontinence surgery includes various procedures to treat urinary incontinence, or the involuntary leakage of urine. This article focuses on urinary incontinence surgery for women.

Incontinence commonly occurs when nerves, muscles and tissues that control urination or support a woman’s pelvic organs are weak or damaged. Childbirth and aging are common risk factors for urinary incontinence. 

Urinary incontinence surgery can relieve or improve urinary incontinence so you can lead a more active, healthy life. However, urinary incontinence surgery entails risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having urinary incontinence surgery. 

Types of urinary incontinence surgery

The types of urinary incontinence surgery include:

  • Bladder augmentation surgery treats overactive bladder by increasing the size of the bladder.

  • Bladder neck suspension surgery treats stress incontinence. It involves supporting the bladder and urethra by attaching them to surrounding bone or tissue.

  • Nerve stimulation procedures treat overactive bladder by applying electrical stimulation to the nerves that control urination.

  • Sling procedures treat stress incontinence by supporting the bladder neck and urethra with a sling-like device.

  • Vaginal prolapse surgeries help treat stress incontinence and possibly overactive bladder by repairing weak or damaged muscles, ligaments and tissues that hold a woman’s pelvic organs in place. Vaginal prolapse surgeries correct protrusion of the bladder, rectum, bowel, uterus, and vaginal vault (upper portion of the vagina) into the vagina.

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Aug 29, 2016

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Medical References

  1. Abdominal Sacrocolpopexy or Sacrohysteropexy. Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh, NHS foundation Trust.
  2. Bladder Augmentation. American Urological Association.
  3. Bladder Sling Risks, Complications and Side Effects. Drugwatch.
  4. Bladder and Urethral Surgery: Slings and Suspensions. Intermountain Healthcare.
  5. Care at Home after TVT-O Surgery. Brant Community Healthcare System.
  6. Colporrhaphy. Encyclopedia of Surgery.
  7. Considering Surgery for Vaginal or Uterine Prolapse? UCLA Health System.
  8. Laparoscopic Uterine Suspension. International Center for Laparoscopic Urogynecology.
  9. Overactive Bladder. American Urological Association.
  10. Overactive Bladder Treatment. National Association for Continence.
  11. Transvaginal Mesh Risks, Warnings and Problems. Drugwatch.
  12. Transvaginal Mesh Warnings & Recall. Transvaginal Mesh Help Center.
  13. Treating urinary incontinence: mid-urethral sling operation. The Royal Women’s Hospital.
  14. TVT Continence Surgery. KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

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