Burch Colposuspension

Burch colposuspension is a surgical procedure used for the management of female stress urinary incontinence. Stress incontinence is a condition characterized by leakage of small amounts of urine during physical movement such as coughing, sneezing, or lifting heavy objects, that suddenly increases the pressure over your urinary bladder. Burch colposuspension is considered for women with stress incontinence who fail to respond to physiotherapy or medications. This procedure may be done concurrently with other procedures.

Advantages of Burch colposuspension include

  • High success rate and likely to remain successful for many years
  • Can be done by Keyhole surgery (laparoscopy)
  • Provides support to the front wall of the vagina

Procedure

Your doctor may order urodynamic testing to evaluate the functioning of your bladder. Your doctor will review the results and decide your appropriateness for the surgery.

The surgery usually takes about 45-60 minutes and is performed under general anesthesia. The Burch procedure can be performed via a large incision (open surgery) or through two or three small incisions (laparoscopic surgery) in your lower abdomen. During the procedure, sutures are placed at the bladder neck and fixed onto a ligament behind the pubic bone followed by suturing of the incisions. At the end of the procedure, your surgeon may visualize the inside your bladder to rule out injury to the bladder.

As with any type of surgery, complications may occur following Burch colposuspension. While serious complications are uncommon, some of the risks associated with the Burch colposuspension include:

  • Difficulty passing urine or emptying your bladder completely, which may result in prolonged catheterization
  • Bladder irritability
  • Urinary infection
  • Infection at the incision site
  • Bleeding
  • Risk of damage to the bladder, urethra or blood vessels

After the Procedure

Following the surgery, you are required to stay in the hospital for about 3 to 4 days and allowed to go home once you are able to pass urine without difficulty. You will be advised to rest to enhance the healing process. You will also be advised to gradually increase your activity level. Avoid strenuous activities such as heavy lifting for the first 6 weeks after surgery. You are advised to avoid sexual activity and sports for 6 weeks after surgery.

If you have any queries regarding Burch colposuspension, consult your surgeon for a better understanding of the procedure.