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Treating Stress Incontinence Without Surgery: September 9, 2012

Millions of women across the country are quietly suffering from stress incontinence. They wet themselves with the tiniest moves. Now a new procedure is giving them back the control they lost without invasive surgery.

Coughing, laughing, sneezing. Three every day actions that trigger an unpleasant outcome for women with stress incontinence.

“People drastically alter their daily life style. They stop going out shopping, they don’t associate or socialize with their friends. It becomes a financial issue with purchasing absorption under garments, pads, liners,” says Dr. Harold Tsai, a urologist on Lee Memorial Health System's medical staff.

Loss of bladder control becomes a big source of embarrassment, one that leads many women to suffer in silence. For years the most advanced treatment was surgery; now there’s a non-surgical way to curb the accidents.

“You can monitor the temperature in each needle,” says Dr.Tsai.

Called the Renessa procedure, a catheter is placed at the base of the urethra. Using radiofrequency, heated needles are applied to the tissue in a series of minute long bursts.

“They’re curved little needles that we are able open and close. So when we push the instrument forward these needles come out and when we pull the button back the needles go back in,” says Dr.Tsai.

The procedure encourages the body to make scar tissue, which in turn toughens the area and provides better support and control of the bladder.

“The procedure’s 10 minutes, we do it under local anesthetic. Women leave the office usually within an hour and they’re fully back to their daily activities the next day,” says Dr.Tsai.

The full affect takes three months. Studies show 60 percent of women find it fixed their problem, allowing them to regain control of their bladder and their life.