Sling Can Help the Leak

Urinary incontinence treatment using sling works well for patients long-term

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) For patients with difficulty holding their bladder, some get a sling to help keep it together. New research shows that it holds up well with very few problems in the long run.

"The distal urethral polypropylene sling procedure has excellent long-term durability in the treatment of stress urinary incontinence, in addition to low morbidity and low cost,…" researchers said in their report.

The slings have replaced other treatment methods for stress urinary incontinence, or troubles with leaking urine, and do not require much prodding and poking into the body.

"Can't hold it? Talk to your doctor."

The study, led by Lisa Rogo-Gupta, MD, in the Division of Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at University of California Los Angeles, looked at how well the slings help patients with moderate to severe urinary incontinence years after surgery.

Researchers looked at 69 patients who had the sling inserted between November 1999 and April 2000.

A little more than half had other anti-incontinence surgery before but it was not successful in helping these patients.

After a physical exam, including a look into the urethra using a camera, researchers evaluated patients at one and five years after the procedure.

By the 11-year follow up, patients were 73-years-old on average. They were given a follow-up questionnaire or received a phone call asking them to rank their symptoms.

Patients were also asked questions about whether their urinary condition improved or not and about overall quality of life. Researchers found that symptoms of the bladder control problems improved 81 percent after five years and 64 percent after 11 years.

In addition, 48 percent of patients reportedly had no symptoms of stress urinary incontinence. Sixty-three percent had little to no difficulty holding their bladder. Fewer patients completed the end of the study as 10 had died and five were cognitively impaired.

"Our results show that in a group of patients there is excellent durability of the procedure, although we also see that with longer follow-up and age progression there is increased mortality and new onset of cognitive impairment," the authors wrote in their report.

The authors note that with the smaller number of patients completing the survey, the results may not be as accurate.

Plus, the patients included in the study did not fall under the American Urologic Association's guidelines for managing patients with the stress incontinence, which may not make the results applicable to other populations with the urinary problem.

The study, which was funded by Astellas and Allergan, was published online September 20 in the Journal of Urology. The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 14, 2012
Last Updated:
November 15, 2012