This handout will tell you how to care for yourself at home after your surgery. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your nurse or doctor.
What is a mid-urethral sling?
You have noticed that you leak urine when you cough, strain, or sneeze (stress incontinence). A common treatment for stress incontinence involves the use of a permanent sling that lies under the middle section of the urethra. The sling works by giving support to the urethra when you cough, sneeze, or exercise.
Through a vaginal incision, a piece of mesh is placed between the urethra and the vaginal wall.
What to expect after surgery
- You will have two small incisions either in your lower abdomen or on each inner thigh. You will also have an incision in your vagina.
- The vaginal stitches will absorb in 3-6 weeks. The groin or lower abdomen incisions are closed with skin glue. They will heal in 1-2 weeks.
- If the mid-urethral sling is the only surgery you are having, you will go home the same day.
- It is normal to feel some pain in the groin and vagina for 1 to 3 weeks. Some people describe this as feeling like the soreness felt after riding a horse or bicycle or pelvic cramping. You will have pain medicine prescribed for you.
- You may have bruising around the vulva, near the inner thigh, or lower abdominal incisions. The bruising will go away with time.
- You will have a catheter when you wake up. It will be removed before you go home. If you cannot urinate after the catheter is removed, it will be replaced. You will go home with the catheter for 3-5 days.
- If you go home without a catheter, empty your bladder every 2-3 hours during the day. Be sure to relax and give your bladder plenty of time to empty.
- You can expect some vaginal drainage or spotting which may last 3-4 days. It might increase slightly as you increase your activity.
- Do not lift more than 10 pounds (1 gallon of milk) for 6 weeks.
- Do not drive while you take prescription pain medicine or have a catheter in place.
- Put nothing in the vagina for 6 weeks (e.g. tampons, douches, vaginal suppositories). Sexual intercourse can often be resumed after 6 weeks.
- You may shower after 2 days.
- To prevent constipation, you can use the prescribed Colace® stool softeners (2-4 tabs/day). During the first 7-10 days, you should use milk of magnesia or 2 tablets of Sennekot® at bedtime to start a bowel movement any day your bowels do not move. It is important to avoid straining during the first few weeks. Constipation can interfere with your bladder working as it should.
- The length of time before you can return to work depends on how fast you recover and the type of work you do. This is often about 2-3 weeks. Be sure to check with your doctor about when you can return to work and start doing more strenuous activities.
You will have a follow-up visit in the Urology Clinic in 1-2 weeks.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor if you have any concerns or notice any of these symptoms.
- Incision becomes red, tender, or swollen.
- Pus-like drainage occurs from any of the incisions.
- Temperature is above 100°F (by mouth) taken two times 4 hours apart.
- Problem urinating or the need to urinate very often.
- Blood in your urine.
- Constipation does not respond to the plan above.
Urology Clinic, Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm: (608) 263-4757
Nights, weekend, and holidays call (608) 262-0486. This is the paging operator. Ask for the urology resident on call. Give the operator your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area please call: 1-800-323-8942.
Your medical record number is ______________________.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 09/12/2011
Copyright © 09/12/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7222
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