The artificial urinary sphincter is a fluid-filled silicone device used for treating incontinence due to a weakness of the native muscle sphincter. The urethral cuff resembles normal sphincter function by closing and opening the urethra, under patient control.
The device is composed of three components- a cuff that is wrapped around the bulbar urethra (or around the bladder neck in women), a control pump which is implanted in the scrotum next to the testis (or labia in women) and a pressure regulating balloon. These segments are attached to each other with a flexible, kink-resistant tube.
Placement and function
The artificial urinary sphincter acts like a healthy sphincter and keeps the urethra closed until urination is needed. When the patient feels the urge to void, he/she simply squeezes the control pump located in the scrotum (or labia). This action takes the fluid out of the cuff that is wrapped around the urethra and sends it to the balloon. This releases the pressure from the cuff, enabling urine to flow out of the bladder through the urethra and out of the body. Once the bladder empties, the fluid returns automatically from the balloon back to the cuff causing the urethra to be squeezed and closed off again, thereby preventing incontinent episodes between uses.
The surgical procedure for implanting the device is performed under general anaesthesia and takes about 1-2 hours for the surgery to complete. A perineal and lower abdominal incisions (or an abdominal incision in women) are required to insert the parts. Every part of the device is connected through flexible tubing which is filled with sterile fluid.