Urine leaks are one type of obstacle that people with incontinence face. Adult males who are incontinent could benefit from discussing the implantation of an artificial sphincter with a urologist. The following information is designed to give you an overview of the device, alternatives, and what you could expect if you are a good fit for this surgical procedure.
Understanding How an Artificial Sphincter Works
Artificial sphincters are made from plastic, and they are placed in the pelvic area of the body. They require manual and mechanical processes to hold and release urine. The process involves a cuff that stops urine from flowing out. A pump inflates the cuff over time to prevent leaks. When it is time to void, the person with the device would need to deflate the cuff manually by using the pump.
Potential Factors That Might Influence Your Urologist's Recommendation
The implantation of an artificial sphincter is a surgical procedure. Some urologists may want to implement other types of leak prevention therapies such as bladder training or medications. These are considered non-invasive, and it possible that your urologist will want to ensure that they have tried other measures before recommending you for surgery.
If you currently use catheters to drain urine from your bladder, your urologist might recommend a different catheterization schedule to reduce leaks rather than recommending surgery. For example, if you catheterize every four hours, your doctor might recommend switching to every three hours. You might also be advised not to drink anything within a certain number or hours prior to going to bed, and if you do, your doctor might recommend waking up to catheterize during the night to prevent leaks during bedtime. Disposable briefs at bedtime could also be recommended.
Reasons Surgery is Used as a Last Resort
There are risks that come with surgery and the implantation of artificial devices. Infection is a potential risk, but those who have the surgery performed may receive antibiotics to reduce this risk. The artificial sphincter could also erode through the tissue of the sphincter, which could result in another procedure needing to be performed to remove the artificial device. It is also possible that the device may stop working, which could also mean that another surgical procedure is required. That procedure might involve the placement of a new artificial sphincter or only the removal of the failed one. A urologist is the best resource to use for understanding all of the associated risks for this procedure.