Sling: Surgical Solution

Surgery for Stress Incontinence: Slings

fix your leaky bladder, for good

“I leak when I cough, sneeze and exercise.” This is something Dr. Christi hears every day. The medical term for this very common problem is stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Many women experience SUI after having children, or as they get older and go through hormonal changes. You do NOT have to live with SUI. Dr. Christi can fix it, quite easily, and you can get back to your regular life.

What is a Sling?

A sling is a thin strip of material placed under the mid-portion of the urethra. The material supports the urethra and closes it off any time there is a sudden increase in pressure that could cause a leak, like doing a jumping jack, sneezing or laughing. Slings have been around for 100 years, but the material has evolved and improved over time. Sling surgery is the most common surgery for SUI.

Who is a good candidate?

Women whose urinary incontinence has not improved enough from other treatments will benefit from a sling. Before recommending surgery, Dr. Christi often suggests things like pelvic floor toning and the EMSella . If you are looking for a faster fix to the problem, or if you have tried other options and kegel exercises, but still leak, then the sling will be your best bet. SUI gets worse over time, so the sooner you address the problem the better.

How does it work?

SUI is caused by a loss of support underneath the urethra tube. The urethra holds urine in the bladder, but when connective tissue or muscle tone is lost, the urethra cannot do its job, and the result is urine leakage. Inserting a sling provides the support the urethra tube needs to function effectively.

The most common type of sling is tension-free vaginal tape (TVT). It has been around for 20 years and is considered the gold standard for sling surgery. It’s a quick outpatient surgical procedure, and requires only a very small incision. Research repeatedly proves that TVT is safe and effective. In fact, the TVT sling is made from the same material used in heart surgery sutures.

Another type of sling is a pubovaginal sling. It is placed in a similar fashion to a TVT, but there is an additional incision in the lower abdomen area. This type of sling is made from biological material. It can be made from your own tissue or from calf skin, for the most natural and less invasive option.

How many sling surgeries has Dr. Christi performed?

Dr. Christi has performed several thousand sling surgeries and has mastered the procedure. She has been on the forefront of sling surgery for almost 20 years, and has used many varieties to find the very best for her patients. Dr. Christi is an expert in the field, and has reviewed extensive literature on the procedure. The latest studies show that it is safe, and still working 17 years after insertion, in almost all patients.

Patients are extremely pleased with their results. Women routinely thank Dr. Christi for helping change their lives, and say they wished they had done it sooner.

What can I expect after surgery?

Patients are able to go home the same day after surgery and resume most regular activities immediately.  Dr. Christi does recommend that you not drive for 3 days and to avoid heavy lifting for a time.  The pain levels are surprisingly low for most patients.  Most patients don’t use any pain medication stronger than a Tylenol or ibuprofen.

How do I schedule my sling?

The first step is to come in for a consultation with Dr. Christi. She will evaluate your condition’s severity, and recommend the type of sling that will work best for you. Surgery isn’t always needed, and if it’s not, Dr. Christi will recommend a non-surgical option.