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Stress urinary incontinence is the inability to control the flow of urine, which leads to the leakage of urine when you sneeze, cough or laugh. Vaginal sling or pubovaginal sling is a minimally invasive surgery performed to treat stress urinary incontinence.

There are three types of slings:

  • Conventional sling: Sling made of body tissue, other biologic or synthetic materials, which is secured with stitches.
  • Tension-Free Tape (TVT) sling: A mesh sling, which is held in place with the surrounding tissue.
  • Single incision sling: A newer type of TVT where there is only one incision in the vagina.

The procedure is performed under general or spinal anesthesia. Your doctor makes a small incision inside your vagina and another either in the groin or above the pubic hairline. A catheter is inserted into your bladder to drain urine. The sling is passed through the incision and secured around the urethra. This helps in lifting and supporting the dropped bladder neck or urethra back to its normal position. You may be discharged from the hospital on the same day or you may have to stay for 1 or 2 days after the surgery.

Complications of Pubovaginal Sling

As in all surgical procedures,  slings may also be associated with certain complications, which include:

  • Vaginal exposure of the artificial material of the sling
  • Voiding difficulties
  • Damage to the bladder, urethra or vagina
  • Irritation in the bladder
  • Persistent stress incontinence
  • Urinary tract infection