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Urogynecology Incontinence Surgery (Slings)

Vaginal sling procedures are types of surgeries that help control stress urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence, the unintentional loss of urine. Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is the leakage of urine with physical activity, such as exercise, or when coughing, laughing, or sneezing.
Women's HealthCare Dothan, AL Urinary Incontinence


In this procedure, a sling is placed under the urethra, like a hammock, to support the urethra and provide pressure to keep the urethra opening closed. Sling procedures use tissue from the patient’s own body or synthetic mesh to create a “sling” or “hammock” to provide support to the urethra. This helps keep the urethra stay closed and prevents leakage of urine.

Why is this procedure performed?

The cause of stress incontinence is the weakening of muscle and other tissues that support the bladder and the muscles that regulate the release of urine. Stress incontinence affects up to 1 in 3 women. It can also affect men but is much more common in women. The most common cause of stress incontinence is brought on by childbirth, and one-third of all postpartum women develop symptoms.

The procedure helps close your urethra and bladder neck. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside. The bladder neck is the part of the bladder that connects to the urethra.

Types of Slings

There are two types of urethral slings that are used to treat SUI:

Midurethral sling

The midurethral sling, also known as a tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) sling, is the most common type of surgery used to correct SUI. The sling is a narrow strap made of synthetic mesh that is placed under the urethra. It acts as a hammock to lift or support the urethra and the neck of the bladder.

Traditional sling or transobturator tape sling (TOT)

In this type of surgery, the sling is a strip of your own tissue taken from the lower abdomen or thigh. Two tunnels are made on either side of the vagina, and the sling is threaded behind the pubic bone and under the urethra, lifting it up. The ends of the sling are stitched in place through an incision in the abdomen.

Additional Resources

Learn more from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists