What Is A Bladder Tack Procedure?

What is a bladder tack procedure? It's a surgical procedure that is sometimes referred to as tacking up the bladder. This procedure is done to resolve stress incontinence or bladder leakage problems in women. Bladder leakage, or stress incontinence, can occur when the bladder falls out of its normal position, or begins to sag. There are a number of things that can cause this to happen, one of the more common ones being giving birth to multiple children. Men can also experience stress incontinence, but women are far more apt to experience the problem. Besides having had multiple pregnancies, and giving birth to a number of children, menopause can be, and often is, a contributing factor.

A Sling, Not Staples Or Tacks - A bladder tack suggests some type of a staple or other type of fastener is used to tack up the bladder into a more correct shape or position, but this isn't what most procedures actually do. A bladder tack usually involves fabricating a sling from existing tissue, or from surgical threads. The sling is placed below or around the bladder to position it correctly, and by doing so, hopefully relieving the patient of his or her problem with incontinence.

A bladder tack isn't always a permanent solution. It can be, but the procedure often needs to be repeated several years down the road. The surgical procedure, of which there are three different types, does not normally fall under the category of major surgery.

Pubovaginal Sling Procedure - The sling procedure is the most common surgical procedure, with the pubovaginal sling procedure generally considered to be the safest. The pubovaginal sling procedure is done while the patient is under anesthesia, but it normally does not take more than 20 or 30 minutes, and is performed as day surgery. The sling itself can be fabricated from the patient's own tissues, as noted above, or a synthetic material can be used. The tissues used can be either muscle, tendon, or ligament tissue, and can even be donor tissue from another animal, usually a pig.

Urethral Sling Procedure - A urethral sling procedure is a little more complicated, since it requires deeper incisions. A urethral sling procedure is not day surgery, as a hospital stay of 2 or 3 days following the surgery is the norm, and the total recovery time can be as long as 4 weeks. The need for this type of surgery, as opposed to the aforementioned pubovaginal sling surgery, depends a great deal upon what the cause of the stress incontinence is. Women who are significantly overweight will often have to settle for a urethral sling procedure instead of the simpler procedure, which has a greater risk of failure when the patient suffers from obesity. Women who have a history of failed bladder surgeries may also have their options limited to having a urethral sling procedure performed.

The primary reason a patient's own tissues are used in fabricating a sling is by doing so there is less of a chance that the body will reject the sling, as could sometimes happen when a synthetic material is used. The downside of using the patient's own tissues is that the tissues must be taken from another part of the body, thereby lengthening the time required for the surgery to be completed.

Risks And Complications - No surgeries are without risk, and bladder tacking or sling procedures are no different. There is always the possibility that internal organs or tissues, such as the urethra, or the bladder itself, could be inadvertently cut or otherwise damaged, and there is of course always a risk of infection or internal bleeding. In addition, any surgery involving general anesthesia carries with it certain risks.

Complications from this type of surgery are quite rare, but do occur on occasion. The complications most apt to occur are bladder spasms or a suddenly overactive bladder, blood clots, vaginal prolapse, or a catheter-related infection. By and large however, sling surgery procedures are considered to be quite safe, and while not always completely successful, resolve the incontinence issue in more than 80% of all cases.

Some patients will be at a greater risk of having a less than successful outcome than others. The most likely reason for this would be age, poor nutrition, or low estrogen levels. People with a chronic cough are also more apt to have a less than successful outcome, as are those who are undergoing or have recently undergone radiation therapy. The most common cause of an unsuccessful outcome however is an incorrect diagnosis. This is more common than people may think, but the cause behind incontinence can often be quite difficult to determine, and if the surgical procedure followed does not address the cause, or only partially addresses the cause, the surgery may not be successful.

It does happen on occasion that a person suffering from stress incontinence has to endure more than a single procedure before the problem is resolved, but bladder problems, like problems that sometimes occur in the digestive tract, often defy an accurate diagnosis, so a surgeon, urologist, or physician cannot always be 100% sure as to what the cause is, or what the correct bladder tack procedure should be.