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Often when I talk with men about prostate cancer it quickly becomes clear that the fear of incontinence following treatment is one of the key concerns that prevent men from testing for prostate cancer. While some degree of incontinence is a possible outcome of treatment, it certainly is not an inevitable outcome of treatment. There are numerous methods of dealing with incontinence when it occurs. If this is a concern, take a quick read of the following article or click the link to visit the parent page.
The Male Sling for Incontinence
The male sling is a relatively new procedure to treat men with incontinence as a result of prostate cancer treatment. In most cases this treatment can be done on an outpatient basis or with one overnight stay. The procedure can take less than half hour to one hour and requires a two-inch incision between the scrotum and the rectum.
The male sling is a minimally invasive procedure where a strip of abdominal or synthetic tissue is placed in the pelvis to compress the urethra and prevent urine leakage during stress maneuvers. Six titanium bone screws are placed into the pubic bone after exposing the pelvic bone on each side. Three screws are placed on each side. A permanent suture is attached to each bone screw. The sutures are then passed through the material used to create the sling. On one side of the pubic bone three sutures are passed through one edge of the sling and tied tightly and on the other side three sutures are then passed through the sling and tied to create the closure of the urethra. The incision is then closed. A catheter is usually left in place for a period of 24 hours. Immediately after the catheter is removed most men are able to urinate with better control.
Not all medical establishments have the male sling available. Initial studies have reported 80% incontinence improvement of the men treated. Although still in its infancy, the male sling has become a significant advance in how we treat incontinence, allowing many men to regain their urinary control and improve their quality of life. Patients should consult their physician to determine whether the male sling would benefit them.