Causes of Artificial Urinary Sphincter Failure and Strategies for Surgical Revision: Implications of Device Component Survival

Arnav Srivastava, Gregory A. Joice, Hiten D. Patel, Madeleine G. Manka, Nikolai A. Sopko, E. James Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Up to 50% of patients receiving an artificial urinary sphincter (AUS) require surgical revision after initial placement. However, the literature is heterogeneous regarding the leading causes of AUS failure and appropriate surgical management. Objective: To inform a revision approach by tabulating the causes of AUS failure, assessing AUS component survival, and examining the single-component revision efficacy. Design, setting, and participants: We retrospectively reviewed 168 patients receiving AUS placements carried out by a single surgeon from 2008 to 2016 at a high-volume academic institution. The median follow-up from initial placement was 2.7 yr, with 37.5% experiencing recurrent incontinence. The cuff size ranged from 4.0 to 5.5 cm, with median size of 4.5 cm. Intervention: Patients without infection or erosion underwent systematic device interrogation and revision, starting with the pressure-regulating balloon (PRB) and then, if necessary, the urethral cuff. Device revision involved either PRB-only correction or cuff and PRB revision. Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: We used bootstrapped intervals to estimate the mean time to failure for individual AUS components. Kaplan-Meier estimates were used to compare survival for individual components and for revised devices by revision technique. Results and limitations: PRB malfunction most commonly caused device failure, while cuff or pump malfunction was rare. Among patients undergoing surgical revision, those with PRB-only correction had similar outcomes to those with more extensive device correction (cuff and PRB exchange; p = 0.46). This study, while systematic and detailed, is limited by sample size, follow-up length, and its retrospective nature. Conclusions: PRB malfunction most commonly caused AUS failure in our cohort. PRB-only correction may satisfactorily restore AUS function in select patients. Consequently, initial interrogation of the PRB may avoid a second incision and urethral exposure for many patients requiring AUS revision. Patient summary: Artificial urinary sphincters remain prone to failure over time. In many instances, correcting only the pressure-regulating balloon may effectively restore device function, allowing for a less invasive revision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887-893
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Urology Focus
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Artificial urinary sphincter
  • Device revision
  • Device survival
  • Stress urinary incontinence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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