Millions of women, especially moms, suffer from stress urinary incontinence (SUI), a condition where sneezing, coughing or even laughing can lead to urine leakage.
“We try to treat patients with conservative therapies, such as learning better bladder habits, doing Kegel exercises, and addressing problems such as chronic coughing, infections and hormone deficiencies - all of which can make leakage worse,” says Andrew Sambell, M.D., a urologist on the medical staff at Baylor Waxahachie.
But these methods aren’t effective for some women. For them, surgery may be the solution. Baylor Waxahachie is offering a new surgical procedure called tension-free transvaginal tape (TVT). It works by supporting the middle of the urethra - the section most stressed by activities - with a strip of mesh tape.
The minimally invasive procedure typically takes just 30 to 45 minutes, and can be performed with regional or general anesthesia. “The surgery is really well tolerated,” says Jason Brown, M.D., an obstetrician/gynecologist on the medical staff at Baylor Waxahachie.
“It usually requires just an overnight hospital stay, and recovery time and pain are minimal. Most women are up and about the next day, and back to work in a few days.”
The procedure boasts a strong success rate. According to Dr. Brown, the procedure alleviates SUI for 90 percent of all people, and 85 percent are still continent after eight years. It’s recommended for women who have finished having children, since the rigors of childbirth can shift the tape.
Revision date: July 6, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD