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What is a bladder sling?

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Quick Answer

A bladder, or urethral, sling is used to treat stress urinary incontinence in women. Drugwatch.com describes the urethral sling as being made of strips of surgical mesh. According to WebMD, the sling is placed around the urethra to lift it up into a normal position, which exerts pressure on the urethra and thereby aiding in urine retention.

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Full Answer

According to Mayo Clinic, there are two main types of sling procedures: tension-free slings and conventional slings. With the conventional sling procedure, the surgeon makes a small vaginal incision through which the sling is placed under the neck of the bladder. The surgeon then pulls the sling through another incision in the abdomen to achieve the correct amount of tension and finally attaches each end of the sling to the pelvic tissue.

Alternatively, the sling may be attached to the abdominal wall with staples. In the case of a tension-free sling, Mayo Clinic specifies that no stitches are used to attach the sling. Instead, the sling is held in place by body tissue, namely scar tissue that forms in and around the mesh to keep it from moving. Three different types of tension-free sling procedures include the retropubic, transobturator, and single-incision mini procedures.

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