Dr. Eilber recalls the surgical procedures used most often to treat stress incontinence.
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What is the most common surgical procedure used to treat stress incontinence? Dr. Eilber: For women who suffer from stress urinary incontinence, the most common procedure performed worldwide is called a urethral sling. This helps to support the urethra or the tube where the urine comes out so the women no longer have leakage with activity. For very mild forms, there is an injection available; much like collagen is injected into the face to plump up tissues, we actually can inject substances into the urethra to also help, if you want to say plump up the tissues to prevent leakage as well. This is a good point to differentiate between having vaginal prolapse and also having incontinence. Although they commonly occur together, they are not necessarily concomitant in every case. So in a woman who has just incontinence but her bladder and other organs are well supported, there really aren’t any good effective devices; there are some pessaries much like diaphragms that women use for birth control that can put pressure on the urethra to prevent leakage. Generally speaking, they don’t work so well. Pessaries are mostly used for women who have falling bladders, just to help support and hold things up.