Urology of Greater Atlanta

What is a Bladder Sling Procedure?

Urology Of Greater Atlanta

Stress incontinence is a common condition that affects both men and women. While it may be uncomfortable for some to discuss with a healthcare provider, seeking their assistance can help provide the relief you need.

Our compassionate team of board-certified urologists at Urology of Greater Atlanta has helped many find relief from their stress incontinence. We can use our expertise to assist you as well. Schedule an appointment at one of our many convenient locations throughout Georgia today!

What is a Sling Procedure?

A sling procedure (or urethra sling surgery) is a common surgical procedure used to treat stress incontinence (stress urinary incontinence). This urinary incontinence can occur when you cough, sneeze, lift a heavy object, or put any other type of pressure on your bladder.

The surgeon creates a hammock-like “sling” out of mesh or human tissue. It is then placed under the tube that carries urine out of the body, called the urethra. The urethral sling lifts and supports your urethra and bladder neck (where your bladder connects to your urethra) so that you do not leak urine when you exert pressure.

Are There Less Invasive Ways to Treat Stress Urinary Incontinence?

Yes, there are less invasive ways to treat this form of bladder problem that will work if you have a mild case of stress urinary incontinence. Your healthcare professional may encourage the following:

However, your specialists may recommend a bladder sling surgery if your symptoms persist. To prepare for surgery, you may need to:

  • Inform your doctor of all the medications and supplements you may be taking
  • Have certain diagnostic imaging tests taken, such as a cystoscopy
  • Refrain from eating or drinking before your surgery according to the instructions provided by your specialist
  • Arrange for someone to drive you home once your procedure is complete

How Bladder Sling Surgery is Performed

There are several types of urethral sling surgeries used to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI). During the most common sling procedure, your surgeon will take a strip of your body tissue, either from your stomach or your thigh, to make the sling.

Slings might be made from other human or animal tissue (traditional slings) or plastic—synthetic material (synthetic mesh for mid-urethral sling surgery) that is compatible with body tissues. Both can be used in the surgical management of stress urinary incontinence.

A small incision will then be made between the scrotum and anus, and the sling will be put around part of the urethral bulb. The urethral bulb is the enlarged end of the urethra in men.

As it heals, scar tissue forms around it to hold the sling in place, supporting the bladder neck. The sling will squeeze and lift the urethra, which helps prevent leaks.

Will Anesthesia Be Administered to Perform a Sling Procedure?

Yes, general anesthesia is usually administered when this procedure is performed.

Can a Sling Procedure Be Performed on Women?  

Yes, this type of bladder sling surgery can also be used to treat female stress urinary incontinence. Sling surgeries are an effective way to cure stress urinary incontinence in women.

Your surgeon will make two small incisions, one in the vagina and one in the belly. The sling will be stretched through the cut in the stomach, and and then stitched to the inside of the stomach wall. It will support the urethra behind your pubic bone.

Alternatively, your surgeon can use the mid-urethral sling procedure. This procedure uses tension-free vaginal tape (TVT), a synthetic mesh, to support the urethra tube.

Recovery After Having Sling Surgery

A traditional sling procedure usually requires staying in a facility or hospital overnight. If there are no complications, you will be free to go home.

It’s also likely that you will need the aid of a catheter until you heal. A catheter is a thin, flexible tube that helps drain pee from your body when you are unable to use the bathroom on your own. Catheters help reduce the chance of getting urinary tract infections.

After sling surgery, it is common to feel pain for a few days or weeks. During this time, to ensure that you can make a complete recovery, you should not strain, exercise hard, or lift anything heavy until your doctor gives you clearance. Once your surgery is complete, you will be able to resume a normal diet.

Outcome Post-Sling Procedure

The outlook post-sling procedure is very successful. Most are either completely cured or notice a tremendous improvement afterward.

What If I Still Have Urine Leakage?

If you notice that you still have urine leakage after your surgery, other procedures may be recommended, such as an artificial urinary sphincter surgery.

Important Things to Consider Before Having a Sling Procedure

As is the case with all surgery, there are some risks and side effects associated with having urinary incontinence surgery. These risks and side effects can include:

  • Difficulty urinating (temporarily)
  • A burning sensation while urinating
  • Urinating more frequently
  • Urine retention (difficulty emptying your bladder)
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Painful sex

As mentioned previously, there are times when synthetic mesh will be used. In rare cases, this synthetic mesh may begin to dissolve or erode. This occurs in about 2% of people who use slings made from mesh. Depending on the circumstance, doctors may recommend surgery to remove part or all of the mesh and will explain all of the surgical options available to you.

Additional Help for Urinary Incontinence

If you are among the many suffering from urinary incontinence, consult the experts at Urology of Greater Atlanta. You don’t need to feel embarrassed or assume that bladder control loss is an inevitable part of aging.

Our team of expert urologists in Atlanta, Georgia, and the surrounding area can provide the guidance and treatment you need to help you return to living a more comfortable life with restored continence! Call or request an appointment online at one of our many locations throughout Georgia today to see if a sling procedure is the right treatment option for you!

Stockbridge, Country Club Drive

290 Country Club Drive Suite 100, Stockbridge, GA 30281

Blue Ridge, Blue Ridge Drive

4799 Blue Ridge Drive Suite 107, Blue Ridge, GA 30513

Sandy Springs

1100 Lake Hearn Drive NE STE 320
Atlanta, GA 30342

Griffin, West College Street

230 West College Street Bldg. C, Griffin, GA 30224

Spivey Station

7823 Spivey Station Blvd Suite 210, Jonesboro, GA 30236


4143 Hospital Drive NE Covington, GA 30014