A pubovaginal sling is a synthetic hammock-like device that is wrapped underneath the urethra to stop urine leakage. Women who suffer from urinary incontinence and cannot be effectively treated through exercise and medications may consider a pubovaginal sling. This procedure is used to support a weak pelvic floor and urethral sphincter muscles.
The Pubovaginal Sling Procedure
This procedure is performed through the vagina and a tiny incision below the belly button. It usually takes about 30 minutes and is performed with general anesthesia.
For the pubovaginal sling procedure, the doctor creates a sling from tissue or synthetic material. The procedure involves placing a band of sling material directly under the bladder neck or mid-urethra, and it is attached to the strong tissues of the lower abdomen. The sling then acts as a physical support to prevent those organs from slipping, causing pressure, and incontinence during physical activity.
Risks of a Pubovaginal Sling Procedure
Patients who undergo a pubovaginal sling procedure may experience complications, which may include:
- Nerve or blood vessel damage
- Difficulty urinating
- Damage to the urethra, bladder or vagina
- Vaginal exposure of synthetic material
Patients are advised to have a serious discussion with their doctor regarding all risks and other treatment options for pelvic organ prolapse, before undergoing this procedure.
Recovery from a Pubovaginal Sling Procedure
Patients can usually return home the same day of the procedure, or in some cases, they will be able to return home after a day or two. They can usually return to work and other regular activities within three to four days. Sexual intercourse can be resumed one to three months after the procedure.
- National Institutes of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine