Normal urinary continence and bladder control require a complex exchange of signals between the brain and the structures in the pelvis. As we get older, we tend to be affected more and more by urinary incontinence – especially as side effects of various illnesses and their treatments, such as prostate cancer.
Loss of that control can be devastating to an adult. To many men, it feels embarrassing to admit they have urinary incontinence – they may not even want to admit it to a physician.
However, there are excellent treatments that work very well for men who have had a radical prostatectomy (prostate removal) to treat prostate cancer, and who suffered urinary incontinence as a result. One of those treatments is an artificial urinary sphincter (AUS).
What Is an Artificial Urinary Sphincter?
The artificial urinary sphincter is a medical device that is implanted inside of the patient, so there is nothing showing externally. It is a well-established method of artificial bladder control, having been used to treat urinary incontinence in men successfully for decades.
An AUS is an inflatable cuff that is placed around the urethra. It closes off the urethra so that urine doesn’t leak. There is also a pressure-regulating balloon implanted into the pelvic area, and a pump that controls the artificial sphincter.
How Does the Artificial Urinary Sphincter Work?
The cuff (artificial sphincter) stops urine from leaking, keeping it in the bladder. When the man wishes to urinate, he must reach down and squeeze the pump in order to permit urine to flow. When he is finished, he simply releases his hand from putting pressure on the pump.
Who Can Benefit from an AUS?
Men who have undergone a radical prostatectomy as a result of prostate cancer treatment can greatly benefit from the placement of an AUS. It is the treatment of choice for men who have not had success with less-invasive measures, such as Kegel exercises, biofeedback, and medication.
Urinary incontinence can also occur due to other reasons, such as other health conditions or psychological issues. A urologist can help narrow down the exact cause and determine whether it may require surgery.
The two main types of surgical treatment for this condition are the AUS and the male sling. You and your doctor can talk about which option would work best for you.
World-Class Urologist in Nashville
If you or your partner is suffering from urinary incontinence, or if you need a urologic checkup, contact the team of Dr. L. Dean Knoll of Knoll Urology. We have decades of experience in surgical and nonsurgical treatments of urological issues, including Peyronie’s disease, male and female incontinence, and erectile dysfunction.
Dr. Knoll’s experience includes an internship in general surgery and a residency in urology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Since then, he has developed international recognition in the field of urology for his reconstructive urology and leadership in penile prosthetic implants and men’s sexual health.
Call us today at (615) 622-5033 to schedule a consultation, or request an appointment online – and let us help you feel great about yourself.