Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is the first in the area to use a breakthrough technology to treat female urinary incontinence.


In May, board-certified urologist Laura Martinez, M.D., successfully implanted the Remeex Female adjustable urethral sling in a patient during a short surgical procedure. Urethral slings are medical devices that lift the urethra into its normal position, eliminating or reducing urine leakage due to stress incontinence.


The system is unique in that it is a lifetime solution that can be adjusted – and readjusted – in the physician’s office while the patient is awake and standing. Currently, it is being used in women who have had recurrent incontinence after a prior traditional sling.


“With this device, we have the ability to observe as the patient undertakes the activities that typically cause leakage, such as coughing, and adjust the tension of the sling accordingly to eliminate incontinence without causing unwanted urine retention,” said Martinez. “And as the patient ages or her body shape changes, we can readjust the sling without the need for surgery.”


Urinary stress incontinence is a common issue for women because tissue or nerve damage during labor and delivery can weaken the pelvic floor or urinary sphincter muscles, causing the urethra to shift because it is not properly supported.


“At that point, whenever the patient does certain physical activities, such as coughing, laughing, sneezing or heavy lifting – she puts stress on the unsupported bladder that causes urine leakage,” said Martinez.


Urinary stress incontinence can also result from normal aging, obesity or illnesses that cause chronic coughing. Athletes who participate in high-impact activities, such as running or jumping, can also develop urinary stress incontinence over time.


“Of course, bladder leakage can be debilitating, and many women find themselves limiting their activities because they are uncomfortable or embarrassed,” said Martinez. “This is a proven solution that can make a significant improvement in many patients’ quality of life.”