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What is urinary incontinence surgery?

Urinary Incontinence Surgery

Urinary incontinence surgery includes various procedures to treat urinary incontinence, or the involuntary leakage of urine. 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: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Dec 20, 2012

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Medical References

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Bladder Augmentation. American Urological Association. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=56. Accessed November 25, 2012.
Bladder Sling Risks, Complications and Side Effects. Drugwatch. http://www.drugwatch.com/transvaginal-mesh/bladder-sling/. Accessed November 25, 2012.
Bladder and Urethral Surgery: Slings and Suspensions. Intermountain Healthcare. http://intermountainhealthcare.org/ext/Dcmnt?ncid=520693119. Accessed November 25, 2012.
Care at Home after TVT-O Surgery. Brant Community Healthcare System. http://www.bchsys.org/portal/page.do?mid=187_257_258_p584_&id=584. Accessed November 25, 2012.
Colporrhaphy. Encyclopedia of Surgery. http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/Ce-Fi/Colporrhaphy.html. Accessed November 25, 2012.
Considering Surgery for Vaginal or Uterine Prolapse? UCLA Health System. http://obgyn.ucla.edu/workfiles/da_Vinci_Robot/Uterine_Prolapse.pdf. Accessed November 25, 2012.
Laparoscopic Uterine Suspension. International Center for Laparoscopic Urogynecology. http://www.miklosandmoore.com/lap_proc5.php. Accessed November 25, 2012.
Overactive Bladder. American Urological Association. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=112. Accessed November 25, 2012.
Overactive Bladder Treatment. National Association for Continence. http://www.nafc.org/bladder-bowel-health/types-of-incontinence/urge-incontinence/overactive-bladder-treatment/. Accessed November 25, 2012.
Transvaginal Mesh Risks, Warnings and Problems. Drugwatch. http://www.drugwatch.com/transvaginal-mesh/. Accessed June 17, 2013.
Transvaginal Mesh Warnings & Recall. Transvaginal Mesh Help Center. http://www.transvaginalmesh.org/fda-warning-recall.php. Accessed November 25, 2012.
Treating urinary incontinence: mid-urethral sling operation. The Royal Women’s Hospital. http://www.thewomens.org.au/Treatingurinaryincontinencemidurethralslingoperation. Accessed November 25, 2012.
TVT Continence Surgery. KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. http://www.kkh.com.sg/HealthPedia/Pages/FemaleUrinaryDisordersTVTTVTOContinenceSurgery.aspx. Accessed November 25, 2012.

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