Bladder sling surgery is often used to treat incontinence in women, according to WebMD and Mayo Clinic. Bladder sling surgery is recommended when lifestyle changes, bladder retraining, medications and other treatment methods are ineffective.
In bladder sling surgery, the urethra is lifted into the proper position with a sling attached to the abdominal wall, explains WebMD. In addition to keeping the urethra in the proper position, the sling also applies pressure to the urethra to prevent incontinence. The sling is made from muscle, tendon or ligament tissue taken from the patient or donor animal, or is made from synthetic materials.
The different bladder sling types include the conventional sling and the tension-free sling, states Mayo Clinic. The tension-free sling uses synthetic mesh tape secured in body tissue. Over time, scar tissue forms to keep the synthetic mesh tape in place. Similar methods to treat incontinence in women include bladder neck suspension, nerve stimulation and sacral nerve stimulation, which uses a device similar to a pacemaker to stimulate the nerves.
Risks associated with bladder sling surgery include urethral, vaginal or bladder damage, prolapsed vagina, fistulas, irritable bladder and difficulty urinating, states MedlinePlus. The sling could also break down or erode if it is made of synthetic materials.