An artificial urinary sphincter involves a simple surgical procedure to help relieve lingering incontinence in men following prostate cancer treatment. The procedure can be done on an outpatient basis or with an overnight hospital stay.
The artificial urinary sphincter is made of a silicone rubber material. The surgical process consists of a doctor placing a small balloon in the lower abdomen, an inflatable cuff around the urethra, and a pump in the scrotum. When the cuff accumulates fluid it compresses the urethra so that urine will not be released. Patients simply squeeze the pump a few times when they want to urinate. Once the pump is activated the fluid flows from the cuff to the balloon. All fluid will flow into the cuff after urination is completed.
Similar to most minor surgical procedures,
there is a slight risk of bleeding or infection. Some
doctors have reported cases where patients have experienced
urinary retention and a malfunction or breakage of the
device. The artificial urinary sphincter is not suitable
for older men, for men who have undergone radiation
therapy, or for those who have vascular disease.
Artificial sphincter placement can be a very reliable treatment for men who have incontinence after prostate removal for cancer. This is a minimal risk surgery with a 90% success rate. Since complications have the potential to occur, this is a treatment technique that generally is reserved for people for whom all other treatment options have failed.