Sphincters are muscles that allow your body to hold in urine. An inflatable artificial (man-made) sphincter is a medical device. This device keeps urine from leaking. It is used when your urinary sphincter no longer works well. When you need to urinate, the cuff of the artificial sphincter can be relaxed. This allows urine to flow out.
Other procedures to treat urine leakage and incontinence include:
- Anterior vaginal wall repair
- Urethral bulking with artificial material
- Retropubic suspension
- Tension-free vaginal tape
Artificial sphincter (AUS) - urinary
This procedure may be done while you are under:
- General anesthesia: You will be asleep and unable to feel pain.
- Spinal anesthesia: You will be awake, but you will be numb from the waist down and you will not feel pain. You will be given medicines to help you relax.
An artificial sphincter has 3 parts:
- A cuff, which fits around your urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the outside of your body. When the cuff is inflated (full), the cuff closes off your urethra to stop urine flow or leakage.
- A balloon, which is placed under your belly muscles. It holds the same liquid as the cuff.
- A pump, which relaxes the cuff by moving fluid from the cuff to the balloon.
A surgical cut will be made in one of these areas so that the cuff can be put in place:
- Scrotum (men)
- Labia (women)
- Lower belly (men and women)
The pump can be placed in a man's scrotum. It can also be placed underneath the skin in a woman's lower belly or leg.
Once the artificial sphincter is in place, you will use the pump to empty (deflate) the cuff. Squeezing the pump moves fluid from the cuff to the balloon. When the cuff is empty, your urethra opens so that you can urinate. The cuff will re-inflate on its own in 90 seconds.