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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

Bladder Suspension

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Bladder suspension refers to surgery that helps place a sagging bladder back into its normal position. Is this type of surgery right for you? Here are answers to some of the most common questions, from who may need this procedure to possible complications. 

Why Is Bladder Suspension Surgery Done?

Bladder suspension (or bladder neck suspension) surgery is a procedure that can be used to treat urine leakage that occurs when a person sneezes, laughs, or coughs -- a condition called stress incontinence. Childbirth, as well as hormonal changes that come with menopause, can cause a woman to lose muscle tone along the pelvic floor. That can lead to stress incontinence and, if you decide to do it, bladder suspension surgery.

Who Needs Bladder Suspension Surgery?

Your doctor may recommend bladder suspension surgery if you have moderate to severe stress incontinence that does not get better with non-invasive treatments such as Kegel exercises, medications, and electrical stimulation.

For example, bladder suspension surgery may be an option if you develop stress incontinence because of:

  • Childbirth
  • Menopause
  • Problems with the muscles in the bladder and urethra (the tube that carries urine from the body)
  • Surgery

Before considering bladder suspension surgery, make sure your symptoms are actually brought on by stress incontinence. If need be, seek a second opinion. Bladder suspension surgery only helps treat stress incontinence. It is not helpful for other forms of incontinence. The No. 1 reason surgery fails is an incorrect diagnosis.

Types of Bladder Suspension Surgery

There are different ways to place the bladder back to its normal position. Bladder suspension surgical techniques include:

  • Open retropubic suspension surgery
  • Laparoscopic retropubic suspension surgery
  • Needle bladder neck suspension surgery

Open retropubic suspension surgery involves pulling up the bladder neck and sewing it to the surrounding bone or tissue with sutures. It is a form of abdominal surgery. The surgeon makes an incision in the belly area a few inches below the belly button and locates the bladder and urethra, the tube through which urine flows out of the body. The procedure improves symptoms of stress incontinence that result from sagging of the bladder neck or urethra. 

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