BLADDER NECK BULKING INJECTIONS
A variety of agents can be injected into the bladder neck (urethra) to provide tissue bulking, thus improving the seal at the bottom of the bladder, supporting the closure mechanism and reducing urinary incontinence.
When are the bladder neck injections performed?
Injections of bulking agents around the urethra and the bladder neck are used for treating stress urinary incontinence.
This procedure has a lower success rate than some other operations available and we therefore do not commonly offer this treatment as a first choice in patients.
However, bulking injections have a very low complication rate and can be performed under local anaesthetic.
We find it suitable for elderly women who are not fit for more invasive treatments and for younger women who are planning to have more children, they usually defer more invasive treatment until childbirth is complete.
How does it work?
When bulking agent is injected into the tissue around the urethra, it adds bulk and helps it close tightly to prevent urine leakage. The injections may need repeating again at a later date because the body will absorb some of the bulking material. The length of time between injections varies with each patient. Some need to be re-injected after a few months and some after a few years.
What does the operation involve?
The bladder-neck bulking injections can be given under a local, spinal (like epidural) or general anaesthetic. The procedure takes approximately 10-15 minutes and is a day-case procedure. A fine needle is inserted into the bladder through a cystoscope (telescope), and the bulking material is injected around the bladder neck and urethra.
What is the recovery after surgery like?
The operation is performed as a day-case. Therefore, the patient goes home the same day. Some women may experience some discomfort when passing urine for 24-48 hours following the operation and may find traces of blood in the urine. A small number of patients (1 in 100) will develop a urinary tract infection, which can be treated with a course of antibiotics. Drinking plenty of fluid after the operation should prevent these problems.
For more information about recovering from the operation, and what to expect on going home, read our information leaflet: Urethral Bulking
- NHS:incontinence treatment options
- Continence Foundation
- Incontact Incontinence Advice
- Age UK: incontinence
- NICE: the management of urinary incontinence in women
- BBC - Women's Health