A tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) procedure is surgery to treat stress urinary incontinence in women. TVT supports the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body.
This surgery may be done while you are asleep. Or the surgery may be done while you are awake so you can cough at the doctor's request to test the tape's support of your urethra. If you are awake, you will get medicine to prevent pain and help you relax.
During the surgery, the doctor will make a small cut (incision) inside your vagina and two small incisions in your lower belly above your pubic bone. The doctor will insert a piece of mesh tape through the incision in your vagina. He or she will place the tape under your urethra like a sling or hammock for support. Then the doctor will pull the tape through the incisions in your belly to hold it in place under your skin. He or she will close the incisions in your belly and vagina with stitches.
You may go home the same day as your surgery, or you may need to stay in the hospital overnight. You will probably be able to go back to work and most of your usual activities in 1 to 2 weeks. But you may need 4 to 6 weeks to fully recover.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Having surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect and how to safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: October 13, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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