Artificial urinary sphincter for post-prostatectomy incontinence: a review

James MH1, McCammon KA

Int J Urol. 2014 Jun;21(6):536-43. doi: 10.1111/iju.12392. Epub 2014 Feb 16.


The artificial urinary sphincter remains the gold standard for treatment of post-prostatectomy urinary incontinence. The AMS 800 (American Medical Systems, Minnetonka, MN, USA) is the most commonly implanted artificial urinary sphincter. Having been on the market for almost 40 years, there is an abundance of literature regarding its use, but no recent review has been published. We reviewed the current literature regarding the indications, surgical principles, outcomes and complications of artificial urinary sphincter implantation for stress urinary incontinence after prostatectomy. A PubMed search was carried out for articles on the artificial urinary sphincter from 1995 to present. The review was centered on articles related to the use of the AMS 800 for stress urinary incontinence in males after prostatectomy. Relevant articles were reviewed. The majority of patients will achieve social continence (1 pad per day) after artificial urinary sphincter implantation; however, rates of total continence (no pad usage) are significantly lower. Patient satisfaction outcomes average greater than 80% in most series. Potential complications requiring reoperation include infection (0.5-10.6%) and urethral erosion (2.9-12%). Revision surgeries are most commonly as a result of urethral atrophy, which ranges from 1.6 to 11.4%. The 5-year Kaplan-Meier freedom from reoperation ranges from 50 to 79%, while the 10-year Kaplan-Meier freedom from mechanical failure is 64%. The artificial urinary sphincter is a reliable device with good outcomes. As expected with any prosthetic device, complications including mechanical failure, infection, erosion and recurrent incontinence remain significant concerns. Despite known complications, the patient satisfaction rates after artificial urinary sphincter implantation remain high. Appropriate patient counseling and adherence to surgical principles are imperative.