Bladder suspension surgery is a procedure in which a gynecologist lifts a sagged or prolapsed bladder back into its proper position within the abdominal cavity. This procedure may be needed if your bladder has stress urinary incontinence. Stress urinary incontinence is estimated to affect more than 20 million American women. When the bladder is exposed to physical stressors such as pregnancy, childbirth and hormone changes, it may slip out of position, which causes urine to leak when you cough, sneeze, or laugh.
This procedure is performed in order to correct the physical issue with the bladder and to relieve you of your embarrassment about urinary incontinence.
How Bladder Suspension Works
A bladder suspension surgery can be performed using one of two methods. The traditional method is to make a low, pubic incision across the abdomen to open up the abdominal cavity. The neck of the bladder is then secured with tissue from another location in the patient’s body.
Another surgical method that can be used is laparoscopic surgery. In this method, a small incision is made through your vaginal wall to access the bladder. A piece of mesh is used to keep the bladder in its proper position within your abdomen. Both procedures require a short stay in the hospital.
Full recovery for the traditional procedure takes about six weeks. Recovery from the laparoscopic technique takes about two weeks. A significant change in your weight or hormone levels may lead to the need to repeat a bladder suspension surgery in five to ten years.
Candidates for Bladder Suspension
A bladder suspension surgery may be performed if you leak urine when you cough, sneeze, or laugh. If the bladder leaks as a result of weak pelvic floor muscles, a bladder suspension surgery may be able to resolve the problem. Bladder suspension surgery may also be used if a bladder has prolapsed. If you had a severe infection of your bladder that caused swelling or scar tissue to form, a bladder suspension surgery may help to restore proper functioning and full strength to your bladder. Accidental bladder damage during a C-section delivery can be corrected through the surgery.
Other candidates for bladder suspension include those with stress urinary incontinence. If your symptoms have not resolved by about six weeks postpartum, your gynecologist may recommend the surgery for you. If your symptoms began after menopause, your gynecologist may recommend that you have surgery after trying pelvic floor strengthening exercises such as Kegel exercises. Your doctor may also ask that you try electrical nerve stimulation or medications. If these non-surgical solutions do not provide you with relief from your stress urinary incontinence, then you could be a candidate for surgery.
Additionally, if you have a damaged bladder or long-term stress urinary incontinence, bladder suspension surgery may be a solution for you.