Male sling helps men with incontinence problems

January 2013

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with 37,000 cases diagnosed every year in the UK*. Prostate surgery can cause its own unpleasant side effects. It is estimated that around 10 per cent of patients go on to suffer stress incontinence – loss of bladder control caused by triggers such as sneezing, coughing or physical activities – following prostate surgery.

Stress incontinence can have a devastating effect on quality of life for anyone with the condition. This was the case with 81-year-old Albert Cheesebrough, a retired bank manager from Harrogate, who suffered from worsening symptoms for many years. Like many men with stress incontinence, Albert put up with it believing that there was no effective treatment available. However, a relatively new surgical technique can provide an effective solution.

The procedure, which is now available at Spire Leeds Hospital in Roundhay, involves fixing a synthetic “sling” (called the Transobturator Male Sling) across the urethra (the tube which carries urine from the bladder) by attaching it to either side of the pubic bone. The presence of the sling supports the urethra with the aim of improving control when urinating. The procedure is minimally invasive and takes only around an hour to perform.

Case Study - Albert Cheesebrough

Albert Cheesebrough first discovered he had prostate cancer in 2000 and underwent a successful prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) later that year. Shortly after surgery, he suffered from a leaking bladder and the condition gradually worsened over the next 11 years, affecting his day-to-day life. A leak could be triggered by sneezing, coughing or physical activities. Albert decided to do something about it a couple of years ago and had surgery at Spire Leeds Hospital in November 2011.

Albert says, “The symptoms made me feel unclean and very uncomfortable. The side effects were also inconvenient. I could not drink alcoholic drinks, such as wine, which curtailed some of my social life although I have never been a heavy drinker.” 

Mr Neil Harris, a consultant urological surgeon at Spire Leeds Hospital, has a special interest in incontinence and functional bladder problems, in men and women.  He said, “Albert’s condition was having a very negative impact on his quality of life, as the leakage was both embarrassing and affected his day to day activities.”

He continues, “The transobturator sling is a fairly new procedure for men with stress incontinence, although a similar sling has been used for over 10 years in women with stress incontinence.  The sling works by supporting the urethra and bladder neck and can help to prevent urine leaking out when patients strain, through for example, coughing, sneezing or, exercising”.  

Albert attended as a day patient and surgery took around an hour to perform. He suffered some discomfort from the operation and wasn’t allowed to lift anything for six weeks. However, once home again his life soon returned to normal – indeed much better than normal – very quickly.

Albert comments: “Without hesitation I would recommend this procedure. I feel more comfortable with myself now. I have no incontinence, I can exercise, play golf, garden and have the occasional beer or wine without "leaking" at all.”

For further information on the male sling at Spire Leeds Hospital call 0113 218 5967/77, email or complete an online enquiry form.

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Read Albert's story in the Daily Mail

Albert Cheesebrough's story appeared in the Daily Mail on 15 January 2012.
Read the article in full.

Mr Neil Harris
Mr Neil Harris performs male transobturator male sling surgery at Spire Leeds Hospital in Roundhay, West Yorkshire

Mr Neil Harris, consultant urologist performs the 'male transobturator sling' procedure at Spire Leeds Hospital

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)