Stopping The Leak
Urinary incontinence affects 13 million people in the United States. In middle-aged and older women, it can be caused by pregnancy, giving birth, or simply pelvic muscles weakening with age.
One solution for women is Durasphere EXP Injectable Bulking Agent from Carbon Medical Technologies, a manufacturer of carbon-coated implantable medical devices in St. Paul. The agent is made up of biocompatible carbon beads suspended in a carrier gel that is injected into the tissue near the neck of the bladder, constricting the area and preventing incontinence.
Durasphere EXP treats stress urinary incontinence—the kind triggered by sneezing or laughing—and can be used in combination with other therapies. “This is the type of procedure that can be done in the afternoon, and you can go back to work tomorrow,” says Tina Wittchow, vice president of professional services at Carbon Medical. Durasphere is permanent, but as pelvic muscles change, more of the material may be needed to maintain continence, Wittchow says. However in one study, 73 percent of patients had maintained for more than four years the continence level they had one year after the Durasphere injection. Wittchow says that the treatment is less invasive than other urinary incontinence products, such as implants.