Slings

Mid-Urethral Sling

This is a minimally invasive surgery that is considered the ‘gold standard’ treatment for stress incontinence. Mid-urethral slings have been used in the United States since 1996 and multiple studies show that they are safe and effective. A small ribbon of mesh (about 1 cm wide) is placed under the urethra. These slings are tension-free. They do not pull up on the urethra. After they are placed, your body will create scar tissue around the sling and it is the scar tissue that provides strength and stability to prevent leakage. The success rates with this procedure are around 80 percent.

 Overall, the sling has enhanced the way incontinence is treated.  Not too long ago, there were few options that were highly successful in treating incontinence, and were somewhat invasive. The sling offers a minimally invasive and very successful option to greatly improving or curing incontinence in many women.  As a result, thousands of women are now able to experience an improved quality of life without worrying about the embarrassing effects of incontinence.

FDA mesh warning

Autologous Sling

This is another type of sling for stress urinary incontinence. With this procedure, a sling is created from the patient’s own tissue. Usually a piece of tissue (fascia) can be taken from inside the patient’s abdomen or thigh. This is a great choice for patients who can’t have the mesh sling or simply don’t want mesh to be used. This is also an option for patients who may have failed other treatments, such as the mesh sling. The physicians at Virginia Urology Women’s Health are among the few surgeons in this area that provide the expertise for this surgery.

Click here for a patient handout with information about slings.