Georgia Urology’s Dr. Shaya Taghechian, a Center of Excellence for the procedure, delivers much-needed relief to a patient with long-term struggles
With a wedding and honeymoon on the horizon, 58-year-old Alison K. felt unrelenting pressure. Her stress urinary incontinence (SUI) had become increasingly worse throughout a decade, and now it threatened to infringe on one of the most important experiences of her life.
SUI is the kind of incontinence or urinary leakage that happens when somebody coughs, sneezes, laughs, or jumps. Contributing factors to this common condition can be age, childbirth, inheritance, and more.
The leakage varies in volume, and Alison was reaching her limit. Cumbersome pads and countless trips to the bathroom were weighing upon her.
“It was interfering with my daily life,” she recalls. “I couldn’t just take a walk down the street without it happening.”
Previously, Alison had been a patient of Georgia Urology’s Dr. Shaya Taghechian, who treated her for another issue. One day she noticed an email newsletter from Dr. Taghechian inviting her to attend an upcoming online discussion about Bulkamid, a new treatment option for urinary incontinence. This caught Alison’s eye, giving her hope for relief she didn’t think was possible.
Sling surgery continues to be the most common procedure to treat SUI. The surgeon places a strip of mesh beneath the urethra, which lifts and supports it along with the neck of the bladder. According to Dr. Taghechian, the mesh materials are flawed and often migrate, causing repeat procedures and possible severe complications.
Since 2020 Dr. Taghechian has been treating SUI with Bulkamid, which has a successful European track record for the better part of the past decade. She calls it a far superior approach with a remarkable success rate of at least 80%.
Bulkamid is a water-based gel that serves as an urethral bulking agent. The surgeon makes three to four injections into the patient’s urethra, which adds additional volume to its walls. The bulking of the urethra helps prevent urine from leaking out of the bladder during normal daily activities.
“This gel-like material is not going anywhere,” Dr. Taghechian says. “It stays put where we want it to stay. And thus far, those patients who got injected eight or nine years ago in Europe are doing great. For me, it’s been an absolute game changer.”
After attending the online Bulkamid discussion, Alison was intrigued and scheduled a consultation with Dr. Taghechian to see if she was a good candidate. Soon Alison’s Bulkamid procedure was on the books.
Bulkamid surgery typically lasts 10 to 15 minutes. Dr. Taghechian performs the outpatient procedure at either a Georgia Urology ambulatory surgery center using localized anesthesia or at a hospital with general anesthesia. Due to her insurance requirements, Alison chose the latter.
The results were almost instantaneous, and Alison began noticing a difference the next day. Although she sometimes experiences very minimal leakage when laughing or coughing, she says it’s nothing like before. Dr. Taghechian’s plan is to follow up with Alison in a year to discuss her status. In the meantime, Alison says she continues experiencing the drastic improvement, which will enable her to walk down the wedding aisle with confidence.
“As females get older, we go through a lot of things physically,” Alison says. “And if we can fix something that’s really bothersome to us, then go for it. Bulkamid is an amazing option to take care of a problem. It’s been life changing. I feel like I’m freer to be me again.”
For Dr. Taghechian, building Bulkamid awareness is key to helping women suffering from SUI, who for various reasons have postponed taking action. She wants them to realize true relief can be around the corner.
“My goal is to continue to let them know there’s a simple procedure that offers a solution,” she says. “We should be shouting this from the rooftops.”
Axonics, Inc., the developers of Bulkamid, recently designated Dr. Taghechian and her Georgia Urology team as a Bulkamid Center of Excellence, making them the first providers to receive this honor in the state of Georgia. It recognizes their expertise, the quality of positive patient outcomes, and their commitment to improving the patient experience.
To schedule an SUI or Bulkamid consultation with Dr. Taghechian, visit GaUrology.com.