Surgical implantation of an artificial urinary sphincter is an effective treatment option for male urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence caused by prostate problems, prostate surgery, nerve damage or spinal cord injury may be resolved with a surgical procedure to insert an artificial urinary sphincter. An artificial urinary sphincter is a device that may be helpful to men who suffer from incontinence, or urine leakage, because of weak sphincter muscles or nerve damage that has effected the function of the sphincter muscle.
Artificial Urinary Sphincter Surgery
The artificial urinary sphincter is implanted during a surgical procedure while the patient is sedated under anesthesia. The artificial sphincter device is comprised of three parts that are surgically placed: an inflatable cuff is fit around the urethra, a small balloon reservoir (filled with a saline liquid) is inserted into the abdomen, and a pump is placed in the scrotum. A catheter may be temporarily inserted after the surgery to drain urine from the bladder. After the surgery, medication may be prescribed for pain.
Results of Artificial Urinary Sphincter Surgery
After the artificial urinary sphincter has been implanted, the patient can control urination with the use of this device. About six weeks after the procedure, after the tissue has healed, the patient can begin to use the artificial sphincter to urinate. When the individual needs to urinate, he presses the pump within the scrotum. This releases the fluid back to the abdominal balloon, allowing urine to flow through the urethra. When the bladder is empty, the cuff automatically refills to keep the urethra tightly closed. When the cuff is inflated or full, it provides circular compression of the urethra and prevents leakage of urine from occurring.
Risks of Artificial Urinary Sphincter Surgery
Although it is generally considered a safe procedure, risks of artificial urinary sphincter surgery include:
- Blood clots
- Damage to the bladder or urethra
- Increase in urine leakage
Some patients may experience difficulty emptying their bladder after the surgery and may be required to wear a catheter. Over time, it is possible for patients to experience a recurrence of urine leakage.