An artificial sphincter is a device made of silicone rubber that is used to treat urinary incontinence.
An artificial sphincter has an inflatable cuff that fits around the urethra close to the point where it joins the bladder. A balloon regulates the pressure of the cuff, and a bulb controls inflation and deflation of the cuff. The balloon is surgically placed within the pelvic area, and the control pump is placed in the scrotum.
The cuff is inflated to keep urine from leaking. When urination is desired, the cuff is deflated, allowing urine to drain out.
Because these procedures involve abdominal surgery, hospitalization is required.
You will most likely be able to leave the hospital the day after having the surgery.
Installation of an artificial sphincter may be done for:
- Urinary incontinence caused by the removal of the prostate.
- Severe continual leakage of urine from the urethra.
- Severe urinary incontinence for which other methods of treatment have failed.
Artificial sphincter placement works well for most men. It can help reduce urinary incontinence after prostate removal.
Complications with this type of surgery include:
- An infection in the artificial sphincter.
- Wearing away (erosion) of the skin of the urethra.
- Failure of the artificial sphincter to work.
Men with these problems often need to have another surgery to fix the problem.
Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Christopher G. Wood MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology