Male Incontinence Surgery

Incontinence is a common problem for men after surgery for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate and may also affect men with nerve damage or an overactive bladder. If incontinence persists for more than a year, corrective surgery may be recommended.

There are three surgical options for the treatment of male urinary incontinence:

  • Artificial Urinary Sphincter: An artificial urinary sphincter is an implanted device which compresses the patient’s urethra to keep it closed except when voiding. A cuff fits around the urethra and prevents urine from leaking. When a man wants to urinate, he squeezes a pump placed inside the scrotum. The pump deflates the cuff, urine is released, and then the cuff automatically re-inflates. This type of incontinence surgery may be an option for men experiencing incontinence due to nerve damage or weakened sphincter muscles.
  • Urinary Diversion: Urinary diversion is a surgical procedure used when the bladder must be removed or all bladder function is lost because of nerve damage. During the urinary diversion procedure, the surgeon will create a pouch or reservoir and a diversion, usually by removing a piece of the small intestine and connecting the ureters to the pouch. This method of urinary diversion requires patients to empty the pouch through a stoma--an opening on the lower abdomen where urine can be drained through a catheter. If the urethra is preserved, urinary diversion techniques that do not require a stoma or use of a catheter may be used instead.
  • Male Sling: The male sling procedure involves the surgical anchoring of a mesh sling to the patient’s pubic bones, which compresses the urethra to prevent stress incontinence. The male sling device keeps consistent pressure on the urethra, which remains closed until the patient intentionally voids. The male sling is most effective in men with mild to moderate incontinence.