Definition

Retropubic suspension is surgery to help control stress incontinence. This is urine leakage that happens when you laugh, cough, sneeze, lift things, or exercise. The surgery 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.

Alternative Names

Open retropubic colposuspension; Marshall-Marchetti-Krantz (MMK) procedure; Laparoscopic retropubic colposuspension; Needle suspension; Burch colposuspension

Description

You receive either general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia before the surgery starts.

  • With general anesthesia, you are asleep and feel no pain.
  • With spinal anesthesia, you are awake but numb from the waist down and feel no pain.

A catheter (tube) is placed in your bladder to drain urine from your bladder.

There are two ways to do retropubic suspension: open surgery or laparoscopic surgery. Either way, surgery may take up to 2 hours.

During open surgery:

  • A surgical cut (incision) is made on the lower part of your belly.
  • Through this cut the bladder is located. The doctor sews (sutures) the bladder neck, part of the wall of the vagina, and the urethra to the bones and ligaments in your pelvis.
  • This lifts the bladder and urethra so they can close better.

During laparoscopic surgery, the doctor makes a smaller cut in your belly. A tube-like medical device that allows the doctor to see your organs (laparoscope) is put into your belly through this cut. The doctor sutures the bladder neck, part of the wall of the vagina, and the urethra to the bones and ligaments in the pelvis.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

This procedure is done to treat stress incontinence.

Before discussing surgery, your doctor will have you try bladder retraining, Kegel exercises, medicines, or other options. If you tried these and are still having problems with urine leakage, surgery may be your best option.

Risks

Risks of any surgery are:

  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots in the legs that may travel to the lungs
  • Breathing problems
  • Infection in the surgical cut, or the cut opens up
  • Other infection

Risks of this surgery are:

  • Damage to the urethra, bladder, or vagina
  • Fistula (abnormal passage) between the vagina and the skin
  • Irritable bladder, causing the need to urinate more often
  • It may be harder to empty your bladder, or you may need to use a catheter
  • Urine leakage may get worse

Before the Procedure

Tell your doctor or nurse what medicines you are taking. These include medicines, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.

During the days before the surgery:

  • You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), warfarin (Coumadin), and any other medicines that make it hard for your blood to clot.
  • Ask your doctor which medicines you should still take on the day of your surgery.
  • If you smoke, try to stop. Your doctor or nurse can help.

On the day of your surgery:

  • You will likely be asked not to drink or eat anything for 6 – 12 hours before the surgery.
  • Take the medicines your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital. Be sure to arrive on time.

After the Procedure

You will likely have a catheter in your urethra or above your pubic bone. The catheter is used to drain urine from the bladder. You may go home with the catheter still in place. Or you may need to perform intermittent catheterization. This is a procedure in which you use a catheter only when you need to urinate. You will be taught how to do this before you leave the hospital.

You may have gauze packing in the vagina after surgery to help stop bleeding. It is usually removed a few hours after surgery.

You may leave the hospital on the same day as surgery. Or you may stay for 2 or 3 days after this surgery.

Follow instructions about how to care for yourself after you go home. Keep all follow-up appointments.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Urinary leakage decreases for most women who have this surgery. But you may still have some leakage. This may be because other problems are causing your urinary incontinence. Over time, some or all of the leakage may come back.

Related:Urinary incontinence surgery – female – discharge , When you have urinary incontinence, Kegel exercises – self-care, Urine drainage bags, Self catheterization – female, Suprapubic catheter care, Urinary incontinence products – self-care, Urinary incontinence – what to ask your doctor, Urinary catheters – what to ask your doctor, Anterior vaginal wall repair, Inflatable artificial sphincter, Urinary incontinence – injectable implant, Urinary incontinence – vaginal sling procedures, Urinary incontinence – tension-free vaginal tape, Stress incontinence, Urge incontinence, Urinary incontinence

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