Artificial urinary sphincter
This involves having an operation to fit a small device inside you penis to stop urine leaking out. The artificial urinary sphincter is made up of:
• A cuff filled with fluid
• A balloon
• A pump
During the operation the cuff is placed around your urethra and the balloon is placed in front of your bladder. The tubing runs from the balloon and cuff, to the pump. The pump is inserted into your scrotum (sack containing the testicles) and when you need to pass urine you can squeeze the pump in your scrotum several times. This moves the water out of the cuff and into the balloon. When the cuff is empty it will stop pressing your urethra closed, so you can pass urine. After several minutes, the fluid will automatically flow back into the cuff. Once the cuff is full of fluid it will squeeze your urethra closed again
You will normally only have an artificial urinary sphincter fitted if you are leaking a lot of urine regularly, at least a year after treatment for prostate cancer. After the operation around seven out of ten men (seventy per cent) may leak less urine for up to three years but some men will continue to have urinary problems.
One disadvantage of this treatment is that there can sometimes be complications, such as infections or parts of the device breaking. These complications may mean that you will need to have another operation to correct any problems. One study showed that around one in ten men (around ten per cent) had the artificial urinary sphincter taken out because of complications.
If you leak a moderate amount of urine (you need to use two to three pads a day) another option is having an operation to insert an internal sling. An internal sling is a small piece of synthetic material that presses on your urethra to keep it closed and stop urine leaking out. You will normally have the sling inserted under a general anaesthetic.
There are different types of synthetic sling available but all work in a similar way. The aim is that the sling is tight enough to stop urine leaking out, but not so tight that it blocks the flow of urine.
The success of this operation varies but aro