Skip to Content
View Additional Content In This Section
Urethral bulking to treat
urinary incontinence involves injecting material
(such as collagen) around the
urethra. This may be done to:
Most bulking materials are injected around the urethra just
outside the muscle of the urethra at the bladder outlet. Injecting the bulking material may be done through the skin,
through the urethra or, in women, through the vagina. Needle placement is
guided by the use of a
cystoscope inserted into the urethra.
Urethral bulking procedures are usually done under
local anesthesia in women, but men may require a
regional anesthesia. A local anesthetic allows the
person to stand up after an injection to find out if continence has been
achieved. If continence has not been restored, another injection may be done
This treatment may help, but the effect wears off over time. It is common to need more treatments.
The surgery is used mostly for women and sometimes
Most urethral bulking injections can
be done in a doctor's office or surgery center. They rarely require
a hospital stay. You may need to take it easy for a few days afterward.
Urethral bulking may be done to
Urethral bulking may work for some women. But fewer than 4 out of 10 women have long-term benefits.footnote 1
The main risks related to urethral bulking are
pain at the injection site, injury to the urethra, and migration of the bulking
This surgery is used mostly for
women and sometimes for men.
This treatment method
avoids the risks associated with abdominal surgery.
urethral bulking treatment, ask your doctor about the following:
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
American Urological Association (2009). Guideline for the surgical management of female stress urinary incontinence: Update (2009). Available online: http://www.auanet.org/content/guidelines-and-quality-care/clinical-guidelines.cfm.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerAvery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
Current as ofAugust 21, 2015
Current as of:
August 21, 2015
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.