Surgery and postoperative care

Patients usually find they are well 1 or 2 weeks after the surgery.

Natalia Gennaro, expert gynecologist, specialised in laparoscopic surgery and the pelvic floor

In the majority of cases, the surgical procedure for stress urinary incontinence can be performed with regional anesthesia (epidural or spinal). On occasions, a general or local anesthetic may be required.

The patient can normally discharge themselves from hospital a few hours after surgery.

It’s not usual to be hospitalised for more than 2 days.

At the time of discharge, the patient must be able to walk, go up and down stairs, eat a normal diet and control their suburethral (urinate)

There are no dietary restrictions and patients can do light physical activity. However, they should avoid doing exercise and over-exerting themselves for up to 2 to 4 weeks following surgery. They can return to work 1 to 2 weeks after the surgery, as long as it’s not heavy labour.

Side effects of the surgery

During the immediate postsurgical period, the patient may experience vaginal pain, groin pain, bleeding, urinary retention (infrequent), which can, on occasion, require a urinary catheter for several days or intermittent catheterisation.

After surgery, some patients may find themselves fatigued, which may interfere with their lives. This tends to go away after a few weeks and is related to the patient’s control of stressful situations.

It’s also possible to have symptoms of a urinary tract infection that requires antibiotics.

A possible yet infrequent complication of suburethral slings is their erosion or extrusion, which consists of part of the sling coming out of the vaginal mucosa. This complication is not frequent with suburethral slings and can be treated with vaginal creams which promote epithelialization, or by clipping the visible part of the sling, which can be done during consultation or with minor surgery. Pain from the entire suburethral sling is infrequent but can occur. When it does occur, it tends to be transient and doesn’t usually require extraction.