Urethral Vaginal Sling

A urethral vaginal sling can be done to correct urinary incontinence (UI). Urinary incontinence is uncontrolled loss of urine. It is very common in both women who have had children and in aging women. The purpose of the "urethral vaginal sling" is to place a strong piece of material (i.e., tension-free vaginal tape or nylon mesh) that fits under the urethra like a hammock. The urethra is the tube that drains your bladder. This sling is put in position to straighten, support and hold the urethra in its normal position. This is a common surgical procedure for this problem.

LET YOUR CAREGIVER KNOW ABOUT:

  • Any allergies to foods or medications.

  • All the medications you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs, herbs, eye drops, creams and steroids.

  • Use of illegal drugs.

  • Smoking or heavy alcohol drinking.

  • Past problems with anesthetics.

  • Possibility of being pregnant.

  • History of blood clots or other blood problems.

  • History of bleeding problems.

  • Past surgery.

  • Other medical or health problems.

RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS

  • Infection.

  • Excessive bleeding.

  • Damage to other organs.

  • Problems urinating properly for several days or weeks.

  • Problems from the anesthesia.

  • The UI can come back.

BEFORE THE PROCEDURE

  • Do not take aspirin or blood thinners a week before the surgery unless you are told otherwise.

  • Do not eat or drink anything 8 hours before the surgery.

  • If you smoke, do not smoke at least two weeks before the surgery.

  • Let your caregiver know if you get a cold or infection before your surgery.

  • If you will be admitted the same day as the surgery, get to the hospital at least one hour before the surgery.

  • Arrange for someone to take you home from the hospital and for help at home.

AFTER THE PROCEDURE

  • You will be taken to recovery area where nurses will monitor your progress and vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, breathing, temperature). They will move you to your room when you are stable.

  • You will have a catheter in your bladder until you can urinate properly.

  • You may have a gauze packing in the vagina to prevent bleeding. This will be removed in one to two days.

  • You are usually in the hospital 2 to 3 days.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Take showers instead of baths until you are informed otherwise.

  • Resume your usual diet.

  • Get rest and sleep.

  • Try to have someone at home for 2 to 3 weeks to help you with your household activities.

  • Do not lift anything over 5 pounds.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort or fever as directed by your caregiver. Do not take aspirin because it can cause bleeding.

  • Do not douche, exercise, use tampons or have sexual intercourse until your caregiver gives you permission.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have a heavy or bad smelling vaginal discharge.

  • You develop a rash.

  • You need stronger pain medication.

  • You are having side effects from your medications.

  • You develop lightheadedness or feel faint.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You develop a temperature of 100° F (37.8° C) or higher.

  • You have vaginal bleeding.

  • You faint or pass out.

  • You develop shortness of breath.

  • You develop chest, abdominal or leg pain.

  • You develop pain when urinating or cannot urinate.

  • Your catheter is still in your bladder and it blocks up.

  • You develop swelling, redness and pain in the vaginal area.