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J Urol. 2009 Mar;181(3):1231-5. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2008.11.022. Epub 2009 Jan 18.

Artificial urinary sphincter versus male sling for post-prostatectomy incontinence--what do patients choose?

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  • 1Department of Urology, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.



Early outcomes of the male sling to correct post-prostatectomy incontinence have been promising in select patients. Long-term data are lacking to determine whether the male sling is as effective as the artificial urinary sphincter, which is the current gold standard. Because the male sling offers the significant advantage of avoiding a mechanical device but without established success, we determined the patient preference for the male sling vs the artificial urinary sphincter.


We reviewed the charts of 133 men with post-prostatectomy incontinence who underwent the first procedure to correct incontinence. After urodynamics the surgeon recommended an artificial urinary sphincter or a male sling and patients were told the artificial urinary sphincter satisfaction rate and shorter term data on the male sling. Patients with high grade post-prostatectomy incontinence (pad weight greater than 400 gm/24 hours) were recommended to receive an artificial urinary sphincter, those with moderate post-prostatectomy incontinence (pad weight 100 to 400 gm/24 hours) were recommended to receive an artificial urinary sphincter or a male sling and those with mild post-prostatectomy incontinence (pad weight less than 100 gm/24 hours) were recommended to receive a male sling.


A total of 84 male sling (63%) and 49 artificial urinary sphincter (37%) procedures were performed. The surgeon recommendation was an artificial urinary sphincter in 63 men (47%) and a male sling in 46 (35%). A total of 24 men (18%) were given the option of either procedure. All patients recommended to receive a male sling chose it. When an artificial urinary sphincter was recommended, 75% of patients chose it, while 25% chose a male sling. When given a choice, 92% of patients chose a male sling and 8% chose an artificial urinary sphincter.


Most patients adhere to the surgeon recommendation. When men with post-prostatectomy incontinence are offered the choice of an artificial urinary sphincter vs a male sling, the opportunity to avoid using a mechanical device is preferable to undergoing a well established procedure. Men who strongly wish to avoid a mechanical device are willing to go against the surgeon recommendation for an artificial urinary sphincter.

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