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Bladder Tack - Procedure for Incontinence

by Jessica Lubahn May 08, 2021 3 min read

Bladder Tack - Procedure for Incontinence

All You Need to Know About Bladder Tack - Procedure for Incontinence

Stress incontinence affects millions of women. It is a situation where urine leaks from the bladder after sudden pressure like a sneeze, jumping, laughter, or other quick motion. There are some medications that help as well as lifestyle changes, but surgery is another option.

What is a Bladder Tack?

For some women it is necessary to perform a surgical procedure for them to regain bladder control. One option is a transvaginal taping (TVT) often referred to as a bladder tack. Bladder tack is an inpatient procedure that involves the placement of a small piece of mesh to support the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the body. This post will outline what can be expected with this procedure.

What to Expect with a Bladder Tack

The operation is generally scheduled in the morning hours. The patient is not allowed food or water past midnight the day before. The doctor will review all regular medications and advise which should be suspended for several days, like blood thinners.

While the actual surgery only takes about an hour, the medical staff will want to observe the patient afterwards. It is likely that the patient will need to spend the day and night in the hospital, so you will probably pack an overnight bag, but leave any valuables, including rings, watches, billfolds, at home. You will also need to schedule a ride home after dismissal.

 Photo Of Gynecologist Sitting Near Medical Equipment

What Happens in a Bladder Tack?

The surgery requires a general anesthesia usually administered intravenously.  The team will also use a local anesthetic at the site of the incisions.

The doctor will make two small incisions in the abdomen near the pubic hairline plus one incision inside the vagina below the urethra. Guiding a small strip of polypropylene mesh tape, this tape will be placed under the urethra. The ends of the mesh will be secured to the two abdominal incisions so that the tape is held firmly in place.

The incisions will probably not require stitches, but are closed with Steri-Strips. Pain medications will be prescribed for any discomfort.

Post Bladder Tack

During the overnight stay, you will have a catheter in the bladder. The hospital staff will use an ultrasound to see how well the bladder is emptying itself. If there is a problem after hospital discharge, the patient may need to self catheterize herself while the system recovers. This could be for a few days or up to a month.

You can resume your standard diet following the surgery and can go back to regular activities after about a week or two. Heavy lifting or other strenuous exercise will need to wait for about a month. Sexual intercourse, tampon use, or other similar procedures must wait at least one month. You can speak with the nurse or doctor about any hygiene concerns and the risk of infections.

Alternatives to Bladder Tack

There are other treatments that do not involve surgery. A doctor can inject synthetic bulking materials into the area around the urethra to keep it closed and reduce leakage. There are also temporary measures like a plug or urethral insert during activities like exercise classes. Speak with your doctor about these measures as well as medication options.ondrwear

Jessica Lubahn
Jessica Lubahn

Dr. Jessica Lubahn, a Washington University School of Medicine (in St. Louis) graduate, is a Diplomate of the American Board of Urology with over 13 years of experience in the medical field. Aside from practicing in Portland, Dr. Lubahn is a health writer and consultant, and the founder of ONDRwear. Dr. Lubahn’s mission is to destigmatize menstrual, urinary, and other types of leakage, by creating effective, beautiful products. Dr. Lubahn prides herself on patient care and is committed to providing the highest quality care to all of her patients, as well as her customers.

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