Millions of people suffer from frustrating and embarrassing bladder control problems such as retention and overactive bladder. Effects of bladder control problems can be devastating. These conditions prevent you from controlling when and how much you urinate and can make simple everyday activities a challenge and social lives very difficult. You may have to cut back on your hobbies or stop working. You may feel trapped by a fear of leaking accidents, the need to be close to a bathroom at all times, and an overall, preoccupation with your bladder. Treatments such as drugs, behavior modification, diet changes, pelvic floor exercises, or the use of a catheter to empty the bladder may not effectively treat these symptoms. In the past there were few options for patient who did not respond to these therapies. Now, however we are able to consider a therapy called sacral nerve stimulation (SNS). SNS involves the use of a device that can be thought of as a pacemaker for the bladder.
SNS therapy is not experimental. InterStim® Therapy (InterStim® is a registered trademark of Medtronic, Inc.), is a sacral nerve stimulation therapy made by Medtronic. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997 and has been used successfully to treat thousands of patients worldwide.

InterStim therapy is indicated for people with urinary retention and the symptoms of overactive bladder including urinary urge incontinence and significant symptoms of urgency, frequency in selected individuals. At the heart of this therapy is an innovative and implantable neurostimulator about the size of a stop watch. The therapy uses a small implanted medical device to send mild electrical pulses to a nerve located just above the tail bone. These nerves are called sacral nerves. The sacral nerves [specifically S2, S3 and S4] activate or inhibited muscles and organs that contribute to urinary control, the bladder, sphincter and pelvic floor muscles. The electrical stimulation may eliminate or reduce certain bladder control functions in some people. This stimulation may facilitate the communication between the brain and bladder, and may relieve the symptoms of urinary retention or symptoms of overactive bladder, including urinary urge incontinence and significant symptoms of urgency-frequency in some patients.

InterStim therapy does not treat symptoms of stress incontinence. It is not intended for patients with mechanical obstruction such as benign prostatic hypertrophy, cancer, or urethral strictures.

SNS therapy is delivered in two procedures. The first is the test to see if the therapy will work. A test [temporarily test stimulation] is used before implantation of the InterStim Neurostimulator to see what the effect of the stimulation is on the symptoms. If this test is positive the lead will stay in place and you proceed to the permanent implant. The Interstim lead is not actually touching the nerves and is not anywhere near the spine.

The next step, the implant of the SNS system, may be done after a successful test stimulation. It involves placement of a neurostimulator (electronics and battery). The implanted system is entirely under the skin. Interstim stimulation introduces gentle, soothing stimulation or pulsing just below the surface of the skin over the sacrum (tailbone) where the sacral nerves reside. The unit is placed underneath the skin so as not to place limitations of any kind on the activities of the patient.
Urology PC offers sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) as well as Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation and Surgery for Incontinence in Men and Women.

Effects of bladder control problems can be devastating. More than 50% of woman age 55 and older suffer one or more problems caused by pelvic floor dysfunction. One out of every 9 woman will undergo surgery for pelvic floor disorder. Thirty percent of woman with overactive bladder also suffer from loss of bladder control or urinary incontinence. It is estimated that 3% of men between 15 and 44 are affected by urinary incontinence, if more came forward seeking help, that figure could be dramatically higher.

Click on the link below to hear about real patient experiences with InterStim: