Call us directly: +44 (0) 30 0302 0202

Emmanuel Kaye House View Location

Urethral bulking agents


About urethral bulking agents

Stress incontinence describes the condition when urinary leaking occurs after you laugh, cough, exercise or sneeze. It normally happens because the pelvic floor, which supports the opening of the bladder is damaged or weakened, most commonly after chilbirth. Thereafter, the sphincter control mechanism is not sufficiently strong alone to hold back the pressure when straining.  Urethral bulking agents are injected underneath the lining of the urethra (waterpipe) to add extra bulk to the sphincter and aid closure of the bladder outlet. Urethral bulking agents are a good option for women who would like a minimally-invasive procedure or those who have had previous surgery which has not been effective.


What can I expect from the procedure?

The procedure is performed under a short general or spinal anaesthetic. Between 2 and 5  millilitres of bulking agents are injected into the side of the urethra, just under the bladder using a special tube called a cystoscope. The procedure will take approximately 30 minutes. In the majority of cases, you will be able to go home on the same day as your procedure.




What are urethral bulking agents made of?

There are several different agents available, including collagen, silicone, calcium hydroxylapatite and copolymer. They are all developed to be durable, non-allergenic and to remain in the site where they are injected, without moving to other areas of the body. Your urologist will advise upon the best bulking agent for your individual needs.

How effective are urethral bulking agents?

Urethral bulking agents are most commonly used for those who have mild stress symptoms, who wish to avoid more invasive procedures, or patients in whom more complex surgery has not been completely effective. The success rates vary according to your individual circumstance and your clinician will be able to advise you on this and alternative procedures based upon a tailored approach. On average bulking agents are effective in two thirds of patients up to one year, and give long-term relief in one third of patients. Urethral bulking can be repeated in those who have had an initial response, which has worn off.

Possible complications

  • The most common complication of the procedure is developing a urinary infection. Studies report infection rates of between 1 and 5 per cent after the procedure, which are treated with antibiotics
  • There may be some short term bleeding which will settle over a few days
  • There is a risk of some urinary retention. Studies report rates of 0 and 10 per cent urinary retention. In the majority of cases, the difficulty in voiding settles within a few weeks of surgery. The risk of long term retention is low
  • Allergic reaction are extremely rare



Getting help

If you wish to make an appointment to seek further advice and or treatment, please contact Mr Ockrim’s secretary.


The information contained within this website has been provided as a general guide and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own GP or any other health professional.