What are complications of sling surgery for men with urinary incontinence?

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Marc B. Garnick, MD
Hematology & Oncology
Bulbourethral sling surgery is an option for treating severe urinary incontinence in men. Slings are made of different types of materials, such as polypropylene or silicone mesh, and different surgical techniques can be used to insert and attach them. In general, the surgeon makes an incision between the scrotum and the rectum, installs a supportive sling under and around the urethra, and anchors it to each side of the pelvic bone. By placing pressure on the urethra, the sling helps retain urine until the bladder fills.

As with any operation, there are also the additional potential complications of anesthesia. These include postoperative clots in the leg and chest, infections, and cardiac irregularities.
Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
In a sling procedure for men with urinary incontinence, the surgeon installs a supportive sling -- made either of your own tissue or an artificial tape similar to nylon -- under and around the urethra to support it. The sling puts pressure on the urethra just below the bladder.

Complications following male sling procedures can include infection, discomfort, and a shift from incontinence to the opposite problem -- difficulty urinating and urinary retention. Men may need to use a catheter to empty their bladders for a short time after this surgery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.