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Exciting Updates from the American Urological Association Annual Meeting, Part Two

Published on October 1, 2013 by Virginia Women's Center

By Lonny S. Green, M.D.

In an earlier blog post, I reported that I was fortunate to be able to attend the American Urological Association annual meeting in early May. Attendees traveled to San Diego from around the globe to learn about the latest scientific breakthroughs for various urologic conditions. It was a stimulating conference with many new findings and reports. In this part two, I will present information on Botox for overactive bladder and the safety of slings done for stress urinary incontinence.

Mature women smilingBotox is the most exciting new treatment for overactive bladder in years and data on its effectiveness was presented at the meeting by Dr. Victor Nitti. Patients who were part of an initial study on Botox could then enroll in an extension study. During this extension study, patients could receive repeat Botox injections over the course of a number of years, if needed. Analysis of large numbers of patients showed very positive results. Not only was Botox extremely effective in decreasing urgency, frequency and leakage, it also remained effective for a long time. Further, when repeat injections were done, the results were just as good and just as long lasting as when they were done for the very first time.

Botox injections can be performed right in our office in a few minutes. Numbing medicine is put into the bladder and there is very little discomfort. While the effects of Botox wear off over time, many patients see dramatic improvement for six to 18 months before noting a decline. At that time, the procedure may be repeated. Read patient testimonials from our own VWC patients who have had Botox for overactive bladder.

Another update from the AUA looked at the safety of slings done for stress incontinence. Stress incontinence is leakage related to exertion, such as a cough, sneeze or exercise. Dr. Anne Suskind and other investigators reviewed 6,698 mesh sling procedures done between 2006 and 2008, as well as 445 non-mesh procedures. They found that complications were extremely uncommon. Many other studies have confirmed the long-term safety and effectiveness of slings for treating urinary incontinence. This is in line with our experience here at Virginia Women’s Continence Center. The sling procedure – done as an outpatient – is minimally invasive. Patients are up and about and driving the very next day. The improvement in quality of live can be enormous – read what some of our own patients are saying.

There are many TV advertisements warning against the danger of vaginal mesh. It is important to understand that the sling procedure, done strictly for urinary incontinence, is not the same as the surgeries that were done with large pieces of mesh for “bladder tacking” or fixing pelvic prolapse. In fact, the sling does not sit under the bladder at all – it is completely under the urethra. In 2011, the FDA declared that manufacturers of the larger mesh kits had to do new studies and get new approval before being allowed to proceed. At the same time, the FDA said that companies did not have to do new studies on slings, with the exception of ongoing studies of the newest design modification of one of the slings. Further information on this can be found here.

These are just some of the new developments in the ongoing diagnosis and treatment of bladder problems. No matter the type of bladder problem you are experiencing, we are ready and willing to find a solution that will restore your quality of life. Make an appointment with Virginia Women’s Continence Center by calling 804.288.4084 and find out for yourself.