September 8, 2005

Collagen injections help men with incontinence

By Will Boggs, MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - For men with urinary
incontinence that often follows prostate surgery, injections of
collagen into the area of the urinary sphincter can improve
short-term bladder control, according to a new study.

The procedure is performed via the urinary outlet, the
urethra, under local anesthesia. "Collagen is suitable in
patients who do not wish a more invasive option," Dr. O.
Lenaine Westney from the University of Texas Houston Health
Science Center told Reuters Health.

"It is unsuitable for patients who have undergone
treatments which result in tissue damage to the urethra
(radiation or cryotherapy)," the investigator cautioned

Westney and colleagues evaluated the effectiveness of
collagen injection therapy for urinary incontinence after
prostate removal for cancer or benign prostate enlargement in
322 men.

The treatment reduced the average number of pads required
to keep dry from 5 to 3 daily, the team reports in The Journal
of Urology, and the procedure remained effective for about 6 or
7 months.

"Transurethral collagen injections are a good option for
short-term therapy in men with post-prostatectomy
incontinence," the researchers conclude.

"Based on our population, if there is no improvement after
two to three injections, it is reasonable to assume that
injectable therapy will not be a successful treatment option
for the patient," Westney commented.

More reliable treatments, which involve surgery, include an
artificial urinary sphincter and placement of a "sling" to
increase urine outflow resistance.

SOURCE: Journal of Urology, September 2005.