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Urinary Incontinence Surgery—Bladder Suspension

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Urinary Incontinence Surgery—Bladder Suspension

(Retropubic Bladder Suspension; Laparoscopic Retropubic Bladder Suspension; Open Retropubic Bladder Suspension; Transvaginal Suspension)


A bladder suspension uses stitches to lift a sagging bladder. It is a type of urinary incontinence surgery.

Female Bladder and Urethra.

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Reasons for Procedure

This surgery is done to treat stress incontinence. This is when urine leaks when there is extra pressure on the bladder and urethra. Triggers may include laughing, sneezing, lifting heavy objects, or exercise. It makes it easier for the urethra to close and stop urine from leaking.

This surgery is done when other methods have not helped.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that may happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing and sore throat
  • Infection
  • Problems passing urine
  • Leaking that returns
  • Damage to nearby structures, such as organs and blood vessels
  • Pain, such as during sex

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

What to Expect

Problems to Look Out For

Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, excess bleeding, or any discharge from the wounds
  • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • Problems passing urine
  • Pain, burning, urgency, or frequency when passing urine

If you think you are having an emergency, call for medical help right away.

Prior to Procedure

The surgical team will meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Planning for a ride to and from surgery




  • Surgery for stress urinary incontinence. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/surgery-for-stress-urinary-incontinence.
  • Surgery for urinary incontinence in women. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/surgery-for-urinary-incontinence-in-women-17.
  • Urinary incontinence. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/u/urinary-incontinence.


  • Mark S. Itzkowitz, MD, JD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.