Atrium Health Navicent Women's Care Urogynecology & Pelvic Surgery

Urethral bulking agent

What is a urethral bulking agent?

Young looking older woman smilingUrethral bulking is an office procedure that can used to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) . SUI is a type of urinary incontinence that is defined as involuntary leakage of urine related to an increase in intraabdominal pressure that occurs during sneezing, laughing, coughing or exercise. It is a very common condition that occurs in 1 in 3 women.

Urethral agents describe a group of materials that can be injected around the urethra to narrow the opening, therefore allowing less urine to leak out. There are several types of bulking agents available. Dr. Kow typically performs urethral bulking with Coaptite (calcium hydroxylapatite), however this may vary on the patient.

How is the procedure performed?

You will be asked to provide a urine sample at the before the procedure to ensure you do not have a urinary tract infection. First anesthetic jelly is applied to the urethra and allowed to work for about 5 minutes. Afterwards Dr. Kow will place the cystoscope and evaluate your bladder and urethra. Next the bulking agent is injected around the urethra close the the bladder neck using a special instrument that is placed through the cystoscope.

How long does the procedure last?

Typically, urethral bulking agents can last up to 1 year. While this may vary with patient to patient, if symptoms of SUI return, you can speak with Dr. Kow about repeat injections.

Young looking older woman smilingHow long does the procedure take?

Overall, the procedure takes about 15-20 minutes to perform. After the procedure is completed you will be asked to void to ensure you can empty your bladder adequately.

What are the risks?

Urethral bulking is a very low risk procedure. However with every procedure there always some risks. These risks include the following:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Bleeding
  • Injury to the bladder or urethra
  • Temporary difficulty emptying the bladder

What should I expect afterwards?

We recommend drinking extra fluids over the next 24 hours. Occasionally patients may experience some temporary burning when they urinate or some blood tinged urine. If these symptoms persist past 24 hours, this could indicate an infection. If you have continued symptoms, you should contact Dr. Kow.

Will my insurance company cover urethral bulking agents?

Most insurance policies will cover urethral bulking agents. Our office will help you with obtaining prior authorization if your insurance policy requires it. If you have further questions, contact your insurance carrier to determine the details regarding your coverage.