How effective is a bulbourethral sling for treating male incontinence?

Marc B. Garnick, MD
Hematology & Oncology
Research has shown that bulbourethral slings are an effective treatment for incontinence. In one study involving 71 men who responded to questionnaires following surgery, 68% of patients used two or fewer absorbent pads a day; 36% of those patients required no pads. Effectiveness of the procedure may vary, however, depending on the material used in the sling. One study, involving 36 men who were followed for a year, compared two types of slings. It found that 56% of men who received a pigskin sling regained continence, while 87% of those who received a silicone-mesh sling did. Another study looked at the success rate of a Dacron or polypropylene-mesh sling; among the 30 men in the trial, 66.7% regained continence. If you are considering a sling procedure, ask your doctor about success rates for the type of material he or she plans to use.

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