Sling procedures are common surgical operations to stop stress incontinence. This is a condition where urine leaks out when movements, such as coughing, laughing or sneezing put pressure on the bladder. Stress incontinence occurs when the muscles supporting the urethra (tube that carries the urine out of the body) become weak and the urethra no longer works well as a valve to keep the urine in the bladder. Sometimes this results from the effects of childbirth. Sling procedures provide support to the weakened muscles by placing a stitch or strip of mesh under the urethra so that it won’t accidentally release urine when there is pressure on the bladder.
In the Burch procedure, permanent stitches are placed on both sides of the urethra to give it more support. The Burch procedure is done under a general anaesthetic (you sleep throughout the procedure) and can be performed by laparoscopic surgery.
Tension-Free Vaginal Tape (TVT) Procedure
In tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) surgery, a mesh-like tape is placed under the urethra to give it support. The TVT procedure is done through small cuts in the vagina and in your pubic area or upper thighs. It is usually performed under local anaesthetic (this means that you don’t have to go to sleep during the operation).