Bladder and urethral repair is usually performed to prevent urine leakage associated with stress incontinence.
Stress incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine when laughing, coughing, sneezing, or lifting, which can result from deformity or damage to the urethra and bladder from decreased muscle tone caused by multiple births, menopause, or other causes.
While the patient is deep asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia), the surgeon elevates the bladder neck (pubococcygeal muscle) by stitching it and the urethra to the anterior (front) pubic bone.
After surgery, the patient will have a Foley catheter and a suprapubic catheter in place. The urine may initially appear bloody but this should gradually resolve. The suprapubic catheter may be removed several days after surgery so that the patient is able to completely empty the bladder. Often this suprapubic catheter will need to remain in place for as long as 3 months, depending on the person's ability to empty the bladder completely.
The amount of time it takes to recover from surgery depends on the individual.
Reviewed By: Scott Miller, MD, urologist in private practice in Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.