Safer, effective treatment of incontinence
offered at Sycamore Shoals Hospital
Dr. Brent Laing (right) and Dr. John Green, who have
offices located across from Sycamore Shoals Hospital,
are offering a new procedure at Sycamore Shoals Hospital
for the treatment of incontinence. They are the only
physicians trained in the SPARC procedure, a 25-minute,
For women with incontinence, life can seem extremely limiting.
There are fears about being out in public, trips
in the car and even personal hygiene.
But thanks to a cutting-edge treatment offered
exclusively in Northeast Tennessee by Sycamore Shoals Hospital
(SSH), those fears can be quickly, easily and safely put to
The SPARC Sling System treatment for women is
a 25-minute, out-patient surgery that is so simple those who
undergo the operation are generally back to work the next
"We were one of the very first in the whole Southeast
(United States) to perform this procedure," said Dr. Brent
Laing, whose office is across the street from SSH.
With a high success rate and low occurrence of
side effects, Laing said the SPARC treatment is growing in
popularity throughout the country.
"It has changed the threshold for people who
are willing to undergo surgery for incontinence," Laing said.
Previously, other surgeries could take hours
and required several days in the hospital. Many who underwent
these older treatments, which are still being practiced at
some other facilities, were unable to return to work for more
than four weeks.
"This is probably the biggest breakthrough in
terms of new procedures since I've been in practice," said
Dr. John Green, a gynecologist in practice with Laing.
Green and Laing are the only two physicians in
Northeast Tennessee trained in the SPARC procedure. In more
than 100 operations the pair has performed, all have been
"It appears to be very much inside that 90-plus
percent success rate nationwide," Laing said.
Approved by the FDA only two years ago, this
treatment involves two small incisions made in the lower abdomen
through which the surgeon places small metal guide wires.
These wires then pull a mesh sling around a woman's bladder
as it is fixed back into its original position.
A fallen bladder is a major cause of incontinence
in women, especially those who have experienced childbirth.
The inserted mesh is designed to naturally adhere
itself to the bladder and the only stitches required are at
the insertion points.
The SPARC treatment is not used on men, though
the doctors said similar treatments are becoming available,
especially for men who have gone through prostate surgery.
Because of the success and simplicity of the
procedure, Drs. Laing and Green said nurses who have witnessed
the treatment are now requesting it.
"An (operating room) nurse is going to be your
toughest critic in surgery," Laing said, adding the nurses
have gained confidence in the new treatment. "Once they have
seen how well this is working, they say, 'Oh, I can have that
The surgery is covered by most insurance companies.
"The insurance plans like it because it's a lot
less expensive for them than the other treatments," Laing
Incontinence is a very common aliment among women
and about 50 percent of those experiencing this problem are
suited for this treatment. The other half of those experiencing
incontinence generally have chemical problems and are more
properly treated by medication.
"They have a different type of problem," Green