Pubovaginal Sling Overview
For thousands of patients suffering from severe stress incontinence and an intrinsic sphincter deficiency (weakening of the urethra sphincter muscles), surgery is sometimes needed and recommended in order to repair the problem. The surgical incontinence treatment of inserting a sling around the bladder neck is used to create adequate urethral compression in order to achieve bladder control. One particular type of sling is the pubovaginal sling which is made, in essence, from a strip of tissue from the patient’s abdomen. The first step of the procedure is performed by making an incision just above the pubic bone and removing the strip. Another incision is made in the vaginal wall where the sling is put into place around the bladder neck and then adjusted accordingly. Sutures are used to tie the sling in place—providing a “hammock” to support the bladder. This procedure is widely successful allowing women to regain effective bladder control for more than 10 years. Synthetic slings can be used but are not recommend due to urethral tissue erosion.