Urethral bulking agent injections are used to treat urinary incontinence, the accidental leakage of urine.
During this procedure, a bulking agent such as silicon is injected into the wall of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from your bladder to outside your body. The injected agent helps bulk up and strengthen the sides of the urethra so it can close with more force and seal tightly, preventing leakage.
The bulking material may be injected through the skin, through the urethra or through the vagina. Needle placement is guided by the use of a cystoscope - a thin lighted tube with a camera on the end - inserted into the urethra.
The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia, allowing women to stand up after the injection to determine if continence has been restored. Most urethral bulking injections can be done in a doctor's office or surgery center. The procedure can help patients avoid the risks associated with abdominal surgery.