Although the idea of using a sling to elevate the bladder neck is not new, it is only in the last couple of years that a popular method has been identified. This operation involves the insertion of a special tape that elevates the bladder neck by placing a sling or tension free tape (TFT) around the neck and squeezing the surrounding tissue to strengthen the bladder neck. A small cut is made in the vagina and the tape is passed either side of the bladder using a metal needle. A cystoscopy (look inside the bladder) must be performed to check that the tape or needle has not entered the bladder. If so the tape must be taken out and the procedure repeated.
Because this procedure is less traumatic and does not involve opening the abdomen, the risks are less and the recovery much quicker, with a comparable success rate (~80%), when compared to colposuspension. This is why the procedure has become so popular. There remains concern over whether the tension free tape will cause problems after five or ten years.