Male Sling for Urinary Incontinence

What is the male sling?

The male sling is a surgery to create a sling inside your body to support and raise the urethra into a position that helps improve bladder control. The urethra is the tube that drains urine from the bladder. The sling may be made from your own tissue or from a mesh-like man-made material.

Why is this done?

The medical term for problems with bladder control is urinary incontinence. This procedure is done to treat incontinence caused by:

  • Prostate surgery
  • A loss of normal control of your bladder caused by damaged nerves
  • Damage to the urinary tract from an injury or disease

How do I prepare for this procedure?

  • Make plans for your care and recovery after you have the procedure. Find someone to give you a ride home after the procedure. Allow for time to rest and try to find other people to help with your day-to-day tasks while you recover.
  • Follow your provider’s instructions about not smoking before and after the procedure. Smokers may have more breathing problems during the procedure and heal more slowly. It’s best to quit 6 to 8 weeks before surgery.
  • You may or may not need to take your regular medicines the day of the procedure. Some medicines (like aspirin) may increase your risk of bleeding during or after the procedure. Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines and supplements that you take. Ask your provider if you need to avoid taking any medicine or supplements before the procedure.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have any food or medicine allergies.
  • Your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics for you to take a few days before and after surgery to help prevent infection.
  • Your healthcare provider will tell you when to stop eating and drinking before the procedure. This helps to keep you from vomiting during the procedure.
  • Follow any other instructions your healthcare provider gives you.
  • Ask any questions you have before the procedure. You should understand what your healthcare provider is going to do. You have the right to make decisions about your healthcare and to give permission for any tests or procedures.

What happens during the procedure?

The procedure may be done at a surgery center or the hospital.

You will be given a regional or general anesthetic before the procedure to keep you from feeling pain. Regional anesthesia numbs part of your body while you stay awake. You may be given medicine with the regional anesthetic to help you relax. General anesthesia relaxes your muscles and you will be asleep.

Your healthcare provider will make a small cut in the area between your anus and scrotum. The sling will be placed against or around the urethra to support and raise it to the correct position.

What happens after the procedure?

After the procedure you may stay in a recovery area for at least a few hours or overnight at the hospital.

You may go home with a catheter, which is a small tube used to drain urine from your bladder. Your healthcare provider will tell you how to take care of the catheter and when it can be removed.

You may have some pain after the procedure. Your healthcare provider may give you pain medicine.

Ask your healthcare provider:

  • How long it will take to recover
  • What activities you should avoid and when you can return to your normal activities
  • How to take care of yourself at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.

What are the risks of this procedure?

Every procedure or treatment has risks. Some possible risks of this procedure include:

  • You may have problems with anesthesia.
  • You may have infection or bleeding.
  • Other parts of your body may be injured during the surgery.
  • The mesh may damage the tissue that it comes in contact with, causing pain or problems with urination.
  • The sling may be too tight and make it hard for you to urinate.

Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to you. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-04-18
Last reviewed: 2014-04-08
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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