Urethralimplants are one method to help treat incontinence due to a weak sphincter. Implanting (injecting) a bulking agent into your urethra may help close the sphincter and restore most or all of your control over urine flow. These implants may be made of synthetic materials or collagen, which is a protein naturally found in the body of animals and humans. Urethral implants are usually done in the hospital on an outpatient basis.
- To keep you from feeling pain during the procedure, your urethra and bladder area may be numbed (local anesthesia), your body below the waist may be numbed (regional anesthesia), or you may be completely asleep (general anesthesia).
- The doctor inserts a cystoscope (a thin, tubelike telescope) into your urethra. This instrument lets the doctor see the inside of your urethra.
- A needle is inserted (either through the cystoscope or along the outside of your urethra) into the sphincter area.
- The doctor injects a bulking agent through this needle into the wall of the urethra. The injections make the tissue close up, which stops urine from leaking out of the bladder. When you try to urinate, the tissue separates naturally to allow urine to flow.
Possible Complications (Rare)
- Temporary or permanent worsening of incontinence
- Infection of the bladder or urethra
- Pain or discomfort at the injection site
- Inability to urinate (urinary retention)
- Allergic reaction to collagen
When to Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms after your implant procedure:
- Problems urinating
- Signs of infection (fever over 101.0°F, chills, frequent urination, urgent urination)