HF 5921

Pubovaginal Sling Home Care Instructions

This handout gives you information about caring for yourself at home after your surgery. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your nurse or doctor.

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Normal Bladder Support

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Bladder Before Surgery

What is a pubovaginal sling?

You have noticed that you may leak urine when you cough, strain or sneeze (incontinence). Because of pregnancy, childbirth and/or aging, the support for your bladder has been lost. This surgery repairs the support and prevents urine leaks. 

Using some of your own abdominal tissue (fascia), a sling is placed under the urine tube (urethra) and the bladder neck. This creates a hammock effect that squeezes the urethra shut when you cough, sneeze or strain. 

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Bladder After Surgery

What to Expect after Surgery

  • You will be in the hospital for 1-2 days.

  • It is normal to feel some pain in the surgical area for 1 to 3 weeks after surgery. You will have pain medicine prescribed for you. You should only need pain medicine for the first few days after surgery.

  • After the catheter is removed (24-48 hours after surgery), you may feel burning when you urinate. You may feel the need to urinate often. These feelings should go away in a few days.

  • You will do clean intermittent catheterization (CIC) after you go home. The length of time you will need to do this will vary. Before you leave the hospital, your nurses will help you to learn how to do this for yourself. Your nurses will teach you how long you will need to do this and how to know when it is okay to stop. Please bring a handheld mirror with you on your surgery day. You will be given a handout with instructions for CIC. 

  • You can expect some vaginal drainage or spotting.

Dressing Changes

Keep a dry dressing over the abdominal incision until the drainage stops. The dressing should be changed at least once a day or more often if needed. Your nurse will show you how to change the dressing before you go home. You will be given the supplies to use at home. You will have thin tape called Steri-Strips over the incision when you go home. They will begin to loosen at the edges after one week. You may remove them at that time.

Activity Guidelines

  • Do not lift more than 10 pounds (1 gallon of milk) for 4 weeks.

  • Do not drive a car for 2 weeks. 

  • Do not drive a car while you are taking prescription pain medicine.

  • Nothing in the vagina for 4-6 weeks (e.g. tampons and douches). Sexual intercourse can be resumed after 1 month.

  • You may shower after 2 days.

  • Time off work depends on your recovery and the type of work you do. This is usually about 3-4 weeks. Be sure to check with your doctor about when you can return to work and start doing more strenuous activities.

Follow-Up Care

You will have a follow-up visit in the Urology Clinic 1-2 weeks after your surgery.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor if you have any concerns or notice any of these symptoms:

  • Incision becomes red, tender or swollen

  • Pus-like drainage occurs

  • Temperature is above 100° F (by mouth) taken two times 4 hours apart

  • Difficulty urinating

  • Blood in your urine

Phone Numbers

UW Health Urology


UW Health at The American Center Urology


UW Health One South Park Urology


After hours, nights, weekends, and holidays, the clinic number is answered by the paging operator. Ask for the Urology doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back. The toll-free number is: 


Your medical record number is ______________________.

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.