Urinary Incontinence

Urinary Incontinence Treatment: Laser and Surgery options

You may be experiencing involuntary urine leakage while playing with your grandchildren, lifting weights at the gym, or having a good laugh with a friend and we're here to tell you that you are not alone.

At our clinic, the majority of women that come through our doors experience urinary incontinence too. We believe that you deserve the best quality of life without worrying about a leak during the moments that mean the most.

If you have ever considered having surgery for urinary incontinence (leaking), you should definitely first consider laser. It is much safer, equally effective for many women, and is painless, with no downtime and with almost no risk. The same can NOT be said for surgery, which usually involves a permanent, synthetic mesh insertion into your body. Also, we can start your treatment almost immediately. No need to watch life pass by while waiting on the endless Medicare waitlist.

Our Fotona IncontiLase laser treatment is designed to relieve urinary incontinence, helping to restore your confidence and your quality of life. Please give our clinic a call or book an online, free appointment to discuss.

Treatment: Laser or Surgery

Treatment for urinary incontinence depends on the type of incontinence. The discussion below mostly pertains to ‘stress (pressure) urinary incontinence’. This is the type of leaking that happens with a cough, sneeze, or lifting, bending or standing up. This is NOT the type of leaking happening with a sudden urge to void and complete loss of control immediately thereafter. Laser can sometimes be helpful for this type, but surgery would generally not be indicated. I advise that you get a full assessment if you have this type of ‘overactive bladder’ symptoms and it would be a good idea to see your primary caregiver first. If you have seen blood in your urine, have pain when you urinate or have difficulty urinating, I strongly advise you to get an urgent assessment.

Before our laser system was developed, potential treatments included at-home Kegel exercises which are largely ineffective unless you are working with a trained pelvic floor physiotherapist or, surgical implantation of a mesh urethral sling or pessaries which act as a temporary fix but doesn’t cure the problem. We are thrilled to provide our clients with truly revolutionary laser technology that delivers better results using less invasive practices. For truly premium results, we recommend pelvic floor physiotherapy as part of your holistic program.

Our procedures are designed to be gentle and relatively painless. As an extra precaution, we offer local freezing ointment to all our patients. You may feel some degree of warmth or heat, but most patients can easily tolerate the slight discomfort.

As a result of the specific effect of the laser energy, new collagen will form, and the pelvic floor will be strengthened. It’s simple, non-surgical, requires no special preparation, and only takes about 30 minutes to complete.

About three years ago I also started including intra-urethral Erbium laser for patients where it was considered to offer further utility. I’m happy to say that I was in the forefront of this developing field, since this is now a globally accepted plan and, in many jurisdictions, intraurethral laser is routinely applied as well. I am one of very few in Canada offering this, mainly for urethral pain, some overactive bladder cases and as adjunct to vaginal laser for incontinence. It is surprisingly, completely painless and adds a minimum extra cost.

If you are interested or really require surgery however, there are two options:

  1. The first is the Medicare system. The reality in all Provinces of Canada is that Medicare is under tremendous stress and the wait times are very long (an average of four years across Canada. Medicare service also require referrals.
  2. The second option is to pay for the procedure(s) to be done at a private surgical center. As Medicare has become more and more strained, more Canadians are willing to travel to other jurisdictions for treatment. Traditionally this meant the US, or Mexico, but recently more and more people are looking closer at home. There are already many precedents in Canada for this and the specialty of orthopedics has led the way in a big way.  For urogynecology conditions there have been no private options, until now.
    After thirty years of working and operating exclusively in the public system, I have teamed up with Mount Royal Surgical (Mount Royal Surgical – Premier Private Surgical Facility in Calgary, Alberta) to offer private surgery for vaginal prolapse, Pelvic Organ Prolapse and urinary incontinence as well as select cosmetic gynecology surgery for Canadian residents from any Province and Territory of Canada on an expedited timeline and with no referral required. Private surgery will get you much quicker treatment.Please call Protea Pelvic Floor Clinic for more information. Patients can call our office directly for a free discussion and consultation with Dr. Murphy, or book online directly through the website. Unfortunately, not everyone will be an appropriate candidate for private surgery and Dr. Murphy will only be able to assess whether you are a candidate after having information about the specific problem, and a personal medical history.The process would look something like the following:

    1) Initial contact: Usually by phone. This will be an overview screening of main aspects regarding the problem and overall health status. Explanation of cost expectation, which will depend on the procedure(s) required. Date of surgery determined, and payment deposit collected if a surgical slot is allocated.

    2) Arrangements to be made for travel and stay in Calgary. Usually about four nights in a hotel.

    3) In person consultation with Dr. Murphy before surgery. Might include clinic tests for instance urodynamics and/or cystoscopy. Final payment determined and collected. Will vary depending on final decision on procedure(s).

    4) Day Surgery under general or sedation anesthesia at Mount Royal Surgical Centre. Most cases will require general anesthesia.

    5) Discharge to hotel.

    6) Post surgery checkup a day or two after surgery.

    7) Travel back to home community/Province.


Recovery

The Laser procedure is virtually painless, with no bleeding, or stitches. 

Recovery is extremely quick – without the need for painkillers or antibiotics – which means you can immediately resume your normal activities. We often have patients come for their laser session in their gym clothes – because that is where they go after they’re done. Others go directly back to the office, go do shopping. You get the point.

Surgery is obviously different. Dr. Murphy will discuss what you can expect in person.


Results

Studies have shown that the Fotona IncontiLase laser treatment is just as effective for stress urinary incontinence as a mesh sling surgery but without any of the surgical complications or risks. Our laser treatments are approved by Health Canada and backed by research to be effective and safe.

Surgery for stress incontinence has been shown to be highly effective. Dr. Murphy will discuss this in more detail.


Frequently Asked Questions

No, but we will provide a letter that you can submit to your insurance provider or Health Benefits account manager. We do not submit to insurance companies directly.

However, you may be eligible for a medical expense tax deduction. Be sure to check with your accountant to see if you qualify.

Short-term incontinence can happen for many reasons, but when incontinence lasts longer, it may be due to a weak bladder or pelvic floor muscles, which often can be treated by laser.

Initial series of three sessions: $2,600.00 (total for the three sessions) + tax.

Annual follow-up treatment: $700.00 + tax.

This is not covered by Medicare and is an out-of-pocket expense for patients. We will provide a letter you can submit to your insurance provider or Health Benefits account manager. We do not submit to insurance companies directly. However, you may be eligible for a medical expense tax deduction. Be sure to check with your accountant to see if you qualify.