Bladder-sling surgery is a procedure in which synthetic, mesh material and human or animal tissue is utilized to build a sling beneath the urethra or neck of the bladder to treat urinary incontinence, explains Mayo Clinic. The sling provides support to the urethra, which helps to prevent urine leaks.
The three most common types of bladder slings are tension-free vaginal tape slings, transobturator tape slings and mini-slings, explains Transvaginal Mesh Center. During a tension-free tape-sling procedure, the surgeon utilizes a needle to insert the mesh into the bladder through incisions in the pubic area between the bladder and the pubic bone. During a transobturator-tape procedure, incisions are made in the same area, but the sling is inserted via the labia and threaded beneath the urethra. Mini-slings are the least invasive procedure and only require one incision in the vaginal area. The slings are placed inside the urethra and remain supported by the body's own scar tissue.
Risks of bladder-sling surgery include urinary tract infections, urinary urgency or difficulty following the procedure, infections at the incision sites and bladder injury, explains The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It is common for individuals treated with bladder-sling procedures to experience discomfort that can occur for just a few days or persist for a few weeks. Patients may be advised to avoid strenuous activity during the recovery period. In certain cases, patients may be required to wear a urinary catheter to aid in urination following the procedure.