Male slings for incontinence
How is a male sling operation performed?
A cut is made just behind the scrotum and a tape made out of a synthetic mesh material is placed under the water-pipe (urethra). The tape pulls the water-pipe upwards and supports it so that urine leakage is prevented.
The operation does not require major surgery and the recovery time is usually very quick. You will probably stay in hospital for one night. We always advise strict rest for 6 weeks afterwards with no heavy lifting or exertion to let the tape get firmly attached. The success rate for this procedure is good (70-80%) but it may not be right for all patients. Patients having this procedure should ideally have the following:
- Stress incontinence following radical prostatectomy operation
- Failure to improve with initial therapy (ie pelvic floor exercises for 6-12 months)
- Incontinence requiring 1 to 3 pads per day
- No overnight incontinence
- No radiotherapy treatment
Afterwards, there can be bruising and discomfort. There is a risk of difficulty passing urine afterwards. This may require a catheter to be left inside for a few days but it is usually only temporary. Other rarer complications include the possibility of damaging the water-pipe (urethra) or small nerves and blood-vessels during the procedure. In the long-term there is a small risk of damage to the water-pipe (urethra) caused by the mesh.
The main alternative operation is an Artificial Urinary Sphincter (AUS). This is a bigger operation with a higher risk of complications. However, the AUS is very effective even in severe cases of incontinence and your doctor will discuss which procedure is likely to be best for you.