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The treatment of incontinence has involved numerous devices, some of them effective, some not.  Centuries ago, patients suffering from urinary incontinence wore bags to catch leaking urine, as shown in this Middle Ages woodcut.

The powerhouse operation to treat incontinence in women is the pubovaginal sling procedure. This durable technique first lifted the bladder neck using hammock-like strips of surgically transplanted muscles or ligaments. Germany's P. Frangenheim and W. Stoeckel, in 1914 and 1917 respectively, modified the fascial sling technique first introduced by countryman R. Goebell in 1910 to bolster the bladder and urethra. Others would add their own twists, using synthetic, autologous or cadaver material to create the sling. Secured to the abdominal wall or pelvic bone, the sling lifts the urethra into a normal position.

But stress incontinence is not exclusive to females. Dating to early 1900, the approaches to control male incontinence have been legion. In the 1920s, for instance, New York's Oswald S. Lowsley tightened muscles along the male urethra for better constriction.

Yet the bigger milestones involved the use of internal and external devices to compress the urethra or sphincter. The forerunners of today's Cunningham and Baumrucker penile clamps were crude devices that emerged circa 1750 that were used outside the penis to clamp it and constrict the urethra.

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