Munson Health
Urethral Suspension -- Sling Procedure

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by Kellicker P


Urethral suspension is a surgery to correct stress incontinence in women. The procedure creates support for the tube that carries urine out of the body. The tube is called the urethra.
Female Bladder and Urethra
Bladder and uretha female
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What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Your doctor will try to find out why you are leaking urine through some or all of the following:
Steps to take leading up to surgery:
  • Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure, like:
    • Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen
    • Blood thinners
    • Anti-platelet medications
  • Arrange for a ride home from the hospital.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before.


You may receive a spinal anesthetic to numb your lower body. General anesthesia may also be used, in which case you will be asleep.

Description of Procedure

One or two small incisions will be made in the abdominal wall and vagina. A sling will be placed under the urethra and stitched into place. The sling can be made out of a synthetic material or tissue from your own body.

Immediately After Procedure

After surgery, you will be monitored in a recovery room. You will most likely have a catheter in place to drain your urine.

How Long Will It Take?

1-1.5 hours

How Much Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia will block pain during the surgery. After surgery, you may experience some pain or soreness. You will be given pain medication to relieve the discomfort.

Average Hospital Stay

You may be sent home the same day.

Postoperative Care

At the Hospital
At first, your urine may look bloody. This will resolve over time.
When you are able to empty your bladder completely, the catheter will be removed. You may be asked to get up and walk around.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
  • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
  • Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
  • Not allowing others to touch your incisions
At Home
Certain steps will allow healing to take place. General steps include:
  • Avoid lifting and strenuous exercise for six weeks after surgery.
  • Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
  • Ask your doctor when it will be safe to have sex or use tampons.
To help ensure a smooth recovery, follow your doctor's instructions.


National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse

Urology Care Foundation



The Canadian Continence Foundation

Canadian Urological Association



Incontinence. American Urological Association Foundation website. Available at: Updated March 2013. Accessed December 2, 2013.

Incontinence. American Association of Family Physicians website. Available at: Updated July 2010. Accessed December 2, 2013.

Surgical mesh. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: Updated September 24, 2013. Accessed December 2, 2013.

Surgical treatment for female stress urinary incontinence. National Association for Continence website. Available at: Accessed December 2, 2013.

Townsend MK, Danforth KN, et al. Physical activity and incident urinary incontinence in middle-aged women. J Urol. 2008;179:1012-1016; discussion 1016-1017.

6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.


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