Bladder slings have been implanted in hundreds of thousands of patients across the world. Sling devices—such as bladder slings, transvaginal slings, and midurethral slings—are designed to hold up internal body tissues and organs, such as the bladder, urethra, and uterus. Although the use of most sling devices is successful, there are many cases of sling device failures and complications; the FDA is acutely aware of all of the injuries that have been caused by or linked to sling devices.
What Is a Bladder Sling?
A bladder sling device is a piece of synthetic material or a piece of body tissue (from the patient or from a human cadaver or from an animal). If the patient's own body tissue is being used to make the sling device, the tissue will probably be taken from the abdominal wall. A synthetic (man-made) bladder sling often looks like a piece of tape; it's small and thin.
There are many sling device designs, including conventional, adjustable, and tension-free slings. Several manufacturers supply varying sling device products.
The Purpose of Sling Devices
The purpose of sling devices for incontinence is to support the sagging tissue of the bladder's neck and/or the urethra. A sling device that holds the urethra will help keep the urethra closes, which is of great help in stress urinary incontinence—the type of incontinence where a person might leak urine upon "stress" from sneezing or coughing.
There are numerous techniques used for implanting sling devices, and the choice of technique depends in part on the exact nature of the patient's problems. Two of the most common bladder sling devices for eliminating or reducing stress urinary incontinence in women are the "retropubic" sling and the "transobturator" sling. These should not be confused with a transvaginal sling.
Sling Device Failures
Unfortunately, there have been many sling device failures; that is, the sling fails to help fix the problem of incontinence, and/or the implantation of the sling device results in complications such as:
- Vaginal prolapse
- Overactive bladder
- Difficulty urinating
- Injury to internal organs
- Blood clots
- Bladder spasms
Individuals who are suffering from transvaginal sling or other sling device complications are welcome to talk with a knowledgeable attorney. To schedule a review of your case, contact us today.