For men who have had a prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) due to prostate cancer, urinary incontinence is often an unwelcome side effect. For other men who have tried other therapies for stress incontinence unsuccessfully, there is a surgical option that has helped many men stay continent and dry. To help restore a man's quality of life and alleviate the symptoms of stress urinary incontinence, the specialists at Chesapeake Urology have had great success implanting an artificial urinary sphincter (AUS).
What is an Artificial Urinary Sphincter?
The artificial urinary sphincter is an implantable device equipped with an inflatable cuff that fits around the urethra. This cuff replaces the natural sphincter that has been compromised by removal of the prostate and prevents urine leakage associated with stress urinary incontinence. The patient is able to controls the opening and closing of the urethra through a small pump that is implanted in the scrotum. The cuff is fully inflated and closed at rest, allowing for storage of urine in the bladder and prevent urine leakage. When the pump is activated, it opens the cuff around the urethra and urine is emptied from the bladder.
Surgical placement of an artificial urinary sphincter is typically reserved for men who have failed other treatments for stress urinary incontinence. Your doctor can discuss the benefits and risks of the surgery with you to help you make the most informed decision.
How Does the Artificial Sphincter Work?
To keep urine from leaking, the cuff inflates automatically to keep the urethra closed. When the patient needs to urinate, activates the pump to deflate the cuff to allow urine to flow out.
- When a patient wants to urinate, he simply squeezes the control pump in the scrotum which opens the cuff and allows the patient to urinate.
- After urinating, the fluid within the system flows from the balloon back to the cuff automatically. No additinal maneuver is required for the patient.
Who is a Candidate?
For a man to be an ideal candidate for the artificial urinary sphincter implant, he should:
- Have no bladder infection
- Have no neurologic conditions that affect bladder function
- Have failed all other therapies for stress incontinence
Additionally, a patient should have good use of their hands for use of this device.
For most patients, the life of the artificial urinary sphincter device is greater than 10 years. Success rates are very good when performed by experienced surgeon.
It's important to discuss the risks of surgery with your doctor. Any implanted device or foreign object such as the artificial urinary sphincter can carry potential risks including:
- Erosion into urethra