Vaginal sling procedures help control stress incontinence, urine leakage that can happen when you laugh, cough, sneeze, lift things, or exercise. They help close your urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside) and the bladder neck (the part of the bladder that connects to the urethra).
The doctor will make one small surgical cut in your vagina and another small cut just above your pubic hair or in the creases of your thighs. Most of the procedure is done through the cut in your vagina.
The doctor creates a sling from the body tissue or synthetic material. The sling passes under your urethra bladder neck. The doctor attaches the sling to tissues in your lower belly that are very strong.
Why the Procedure Is Performed
Vaginal sling procedures are done to treat stress incontinence.
Most of the time, your doctor will try drugs and bladder retraining before talking about surgery with you. If you have tried those things and you are still having problems with urine leakage, surgery may be your best option.
Wai CY. Surgical treatment for stress and urge urinary incontinence. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2009;36:509-519.
Dmochowski RR, Blaivas JM, Gormley EA, et al. Female Stress Urinary Incontinence Update Panel of the American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc, Whetter LE. Update of AUA guideline on the surgical management of female stress urinary incontinence. J Urol. 2010;183:1906-1914.
Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Chief of Urology, Cambridge Health Alliance, Visiting Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.