Is the bladder sling worth it?
July 8, 2014 6:30 PM   Subscribe

Have you had the bladder sling surgery? It sounds risky. Would you reccommend it?

My mom has been experiencing urinary incontinence for a while now, and her doctor has recommended she have a sling procedure done. The success rates are relatively high, but so are the rates of complication. So much so that the FDA has written a warning about the risks of the use of trans-vaginal mesh.

Right now she's pretty set on doing the procedure, whereas I'm worried that if things don't go perfectly, she may be stuck with permanent pain that won't be fixed even if the mesh is removed. She's not really open to seeing somebody for a second opinion, thinking that they'll just tell her the same info about the surgery.

I'm hoping to get some perspectives from people who have had the operation, and how it worked for them. Also amazing would be to hear from doctors about their impressions of the procedure. It is hard to weigh the possible benefits against the warnings and legal websites that pop up when you search online.

My mom is 59 years old, and in fair health. She also experiences osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism and high blood pressure/cholesterol. She is good at taking medication/following doctor's orders, so I expect her to participate effectively in after-care instructions. (on the other hand, she plans on a long trip to Italy three months post-op).

Thoughts? Thanks so much!
posted by gilsonal to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
51 year old woman here. I had it done about 5 years ago. I'm thrilled with it. No complications at all. I recover really well and quickly from surgery. I have was driving and running errands within one or two days. My only regret is that I waited so long.
posted by jennstra at 8:32 PM on July 8, 2014

Not sure if it could work for your mom but physical therapy. After having everything end up in different places after childbirth, pt made a huge difference for me. It takes some effort and I am still not anatomically correct, but mh symptoms including incontenece are vastly improved. Tbe surgery seems scary and pt with a pelvic floor expert was not.
posted by Kalmya at 8:46 PM on July 8, 2014

Would recommend seeing a urogynecologist in clinic first, and/or looking into pelvic floor rehabilitation before considering any surgical options. Her PCP would know who is available in your area (or would know where to look). This is not an unusual medical problem for women her age.

(By the by, finding the right urogynecologist can be amazing and life-changing! I had the chance to shadow in a clinic during medical school, and the way her patients talked about their pessaries and how much they loved their doctor was *almost* enough to make me change specialties.)
posted by honeybee413 at 10:07 PM on July 8, 2014

I'd say it's worth seeing a urogynecologist as well, if she hasn't already, and see what they say. Whatever she decides, it is absolutely worth fixing! For my (slightly different) issue the solution was medication rather than PT; regardless it makes sense to me to see a specialist/get a second opinion first.
posted by jrobin276 at 12:33 AM on July 9, 2014

My aunt had this surgery done perhaps two years ago. She's 73, and prior to the procedure was experiencing quite a bit of discomfort. All of those issues were resolved and she has said that she was glad she had it done, and was also mad at herself that she waited as long as she did to do it. Hope this helps.
posted by chosemerveilleux at 2:53 PM on July 9, 2014

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