What to Know About Bladder Sling Surgery for Incontinence

I’m Fed Up…. Fix Me!

Many women we speak with have dealt with incontinence for years. The physical, emotional, social, and even sexual effects have taken their toll. They’re tired, fed up, and want to get better NOW! Usually, the only treatment they know of, after doing their millionth Kegel, is bladder sling surgery.

Sling Me Up

Bladder sling surgery (also known as vaginal sling surgery, or urethral sling surgery) is widely used to treat severe stress urinary incontinence. The procedures often involve implanting a piece of plastic mesh below your urethra or bladder neck to support it. Surgeons insert the device through an incision in your vagina. Think of it as a hammock that you have to adjust to just the right tension to provide the necessary support. After a few weeks of recovery, you can resume full activity and you should be in total control of your bladder. Success rates vary, but in one meta-analysis of surgery, success was 82%.1

But there are Risks to Surgery…

However, when surgery doesn’t work the consequences can be great. Pelvic meshes can break into fragments that embed into tissue, become dislodged, and perforate neighboring organs. When this happens women expeGroup effort to fix incontinencerience a large amount of pain and discomfort. They often end up worse off than before the surgery. This frequently requires follow-up surgeries to fix what went wrong or even remove the device. In April 2019, the FDA ordered a halt to the sale of transvaginal surgical mesh implants for certain pelvic procedures, and in many countries around the world, pelvic meshes have been outlawed completely. Recently, these risks have become more public through in-depth media coverage and large class-action lawsuits. Despite this, we still meet women who don’t know about alternative treatment options.

Looking for an Alternative to Surgery?

…And there are Costs

Health risks aside, surgery is a relatively costly path, ranging from $6,000 to $25,000. Even after surgery, women still spend on average $190 a year to manage residual leaks.2 If you happen to have a bad outcome and need a second surgery, the cost can quickly rise to $50,000 to have a failed implant surgically removed by a specialist. Not getting treatment is expensive too. In fact, the same cost study found that women spend on average $750 per year managing their incontinence systems.

The Ultimate Conservative Treatment

In the study that investigated surgical success rates, the second most effective treatment was pelvic floor exercises. You’ve probably heard this before…. “Do Your Kegels”. Great, but that’s easier said than done. Many women don’t do Kegels correctly or often enough, limiting their benefit. So will anything help? There are a number of conservative treatment options that you may want to consider before surgery, including several that perform Kegels for you.

ELITONE® – Alternative Treatment for  Stress Urinary Incontinence

ELITONE box and GelPads

One example is ELITONE, an entirely non-invasive alternative to surgery that is proven to reduce stress incontinence leaks. ELITONE is used externally, so nothing is inserted vaginally, meaning greater comfort, convenience and reduced risk of infection.  ELITONE​ is a safe and effective alternative treatment to surgery for stress urinary incontinence.  Take the time to consider your options, the risks, and the costs. Your pelvic floor will thank you!