A Tension-free Vaginal Tape procedure (TVT) is surgery to treat stress incontinence in women. It permanently supports your urethra and stops urine leaking from it.
What is TVT?
TVT stands for Tension-free Vaginal Tape. It is an operation for women who have a urinary stress incontinence weakness.
In a TVT procedure, the vaginal tape is placed under your urethra, the tube that urine passes through. The tension-free vaginal tape acts like a sling to lift and support your urethra and help prevent leaks when there is increased pressure in your abdomen, such as laughing, coughing, sneezing and exercising.
What is TVT tape?
TVT tape is a permanent strip of synthetic material (polypropylene) that is surgically inserted under a woman’s urethra to support it, for the management of stress urinary incontinence.
Is TVT tape the same as mesh?
Yes, TVT tape and mesh are used to talk about the same thing. Both TVT tape and TVT mesh refer to a flat strip of synthetic material that is permanently implanted under a woman’s urethra to act as a sling to lift and support the urethra and help to prevent urine leaks.
How long does a TVT tape last?
It is not yet clear how long a TVT will last. Data is sparse, but it suggests that tape erosion occurs only rarely.
A 2015 study reported TVT tape to have a short-term cure rate (up to one year) of 71-97% and long-term cure rate (up to 5 years) of 51-88%.
TVT procedure appears to have similar effectiveness to its main alternative surgery, Transobturator Tape (TOT) which involves fitting the tape differently, for the management of stress urinary incontinence. TVT benefits from shorter hospital stays than open colposuspension surgery and traditional sling procedures.
What is the recovery process after a TVT procedure
Everyone recovers at a different rate after a surgical procedure and this is true for women who have had a TVT procedure.
Most women have their operation under a local anaesthetic and should be able to go home soon afterwards.
Often women feel tired for the first few days after their operation as their body is healing. It is a good idea to plan support with domestic activities such as shopping and childcare for a few days after your surgery until you feel able to do them yourself.
You can expect some vaginal bleeding, like a very light period, for up to a week after your TVT procedure. We recommend using sanitary towels rather than tampons.
You may also have some discomfort after your operation. Painkillers will help to manage this.
We recommend that you wait four to six weeks after your operation until you have sex. This will allow time for any vaginal scars to heal.
Your return to work will depend on the type of work you do, how many hours you work and how you get to and from work. Many women go back to work after two to three days, others may need longer.
We recommend you not to do any heavy lifting for a few weeks.
You will be given advice on exercises to help you recover. Pelvic floor exercises help prevent incontinence returning and reduce your risk of a prolapse.
What is the cost of a TVT procedure
You will receive a formal quotation price for your TVT procedure following your consultation and any required tests with one of our expert surgeons. This formal quote for your TVT surgery will be valid for 60 days and includes unlimited aftercare.
Ramsay is recognised by all major medical insurers. TVT is covered by most medical insurance policies. We advise you to obtain written authorisation from your insurance provider before your TVT procedure.
We have a number of finance options if you are paying for your TVT yourself. These include:
- Interest-free finance – 0% interest, no deposit and affordable monthly instalments.
- All-inclusive Total Care - one-off pre-agreed payment for access to all the treatment and aftercare you need for complete reassurance.
- Pay as you go – flexible funding to pay for your treatment as and when costs arise. Often used if your treatment costs are difficult to assess.
TVT at Ramsay Health Care UK
At Ramsay Health Care UK, TVT is performed by one of our appropriately trained consultant urogynaecologists who regularly carry out surgery for stress incontinence in women.
Our caring and expert team will look after you with sensitivity and compassion.
Ramsay offers convenient appointments for TVT without waiting at your local and easily accessible hospitals that are clean and comfortable.
Our safety measure to prevent infection are extensive. Online consultations, optimised patient flow, regular and comprehensive cleaning regimes, social distancing and PPE are some of the measures we have in place to keep you safe whilst visiting our hospitals.