One of the most vexing medical problems for women is accidental leakage of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or doing other activities that place pressure on the bladder. This all-too-common condition is called stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
Now, there is a new treatment for SUI and it is only being done on Long Island at Winthrop-University Hospital, keeping the Hospital at the forefront of patient care. The procedure is known as urethral bulking, and is performed by Alan Garely, MD, Director of Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstruction Surgery, and Chief of the Division of Gynecology.
SUI is a pervasive female problem. Approximately 15-20 million women in the United States suffer from it, affecting women as young as age 20, according to the American Urogynecologic Society. Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause are the most common causes of SUI.
Complicating matters further, one study found that not enough women talk to their physicians when accidents begin to happen. Indeed, it was found that women waited nearly 10 years before discussing their situations with a physician.
Older treatment methods of this type have met with only modest success, and there has been the perception that something better is needed.
Urethral bulking is an office procedure that takes less than 10 minutes. After using topical anesthetic, Dr. Garely inserts an endoscope with a very thin needle into the urethra. He injects the substance between the layers of the urethra, filling and strengthening it to keep urine within the bladder.
"Patients may think that stress urinary incontinence is just a natural part of the aging process, or they may be too embarrassed to seek help when accidents begin to happen," Dr. Garely explained.
"There is no fear of surgery and its risks because there is no cutting. Most women can resume their routine activities the same day, with hardly any recovery time needed," he continued.
"Most insurance companies will cover this, and it offers immediate and lasting improvement." Some patients may need follow-up injections to achieve total continence, he added.
The bulking agent is manufactured by the C.R. Bard Company and is sold under the name Tegress™ Implant. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration earlier this year. Dr. Garely added that using this substance leaves the door open if, after a year, the patient still requires more traditional surgery. Unlike other treatments utilizing older, unreliable bulking agents (collagen, carbon particles), this has been improved so it does not move within the tissues, nor does it dissolve over time or disintegrate, and it is easier to place accurately. The normal tissue incorporates the bulking agent over time.
For more information or an appointment, call (516) 663-3010.