INTERSTIM – A Pacemaker For Bladder Control


Overactive bladder (OAB) is characterized by frequent sudden urges to urinate. For many people with OAB, the urge to urinate is so strong and sudden that there is not enough warning time to make it to the bathroom and an incontinence episode occurs. OAB is often successfully treated with pelvic floor exercises and medication. However, sometimes these do not work or are not an option. If bladder control issues are affecting your lifestyle, we can help you regain control and improve your quality of life.

InterStim Therapy is a small pacemaker like device that works on the principle of neuromodulation. The device is used to send mild electrical pulses to a nerve located in the lower back (just above the tailbone). This nerve, called the sacral nerve, influences the bladder and surrounding muscles that regulate urinary function. The electrical stimulation may reduce or eliminate OAB symptoms. Additionally, it may also be used to treat people who have difficulty emptying their bladder (non obstructive urinary retention).

InterStim Therapy does not treat symptoms of stress incontinence. People with stress incontinence lose urine when they exercise or move in a certain way. If you have stress incontinence, you may leak urine when you sneeze, cough, or laugh, or when you get up from a chair.

Our urogynecology specialists are performing a 45-minute, incision free, in office procedure to determine if a patient will respond to the InterStim Therapy. A small, thin wire is placed under the skin, by the tailbone, to control bladder activity. Next, the wire is connected to a small stimulator which you'll wear on a belt during a 3 to 7 day trial. If during the trial period, you experience a significant improvement in your bladder control issues then you may choose to proceed with InterStim placement. The final placement procedure is performed as a 1-hour outpatient procedure. It involves placement of a new thin wire and a small Interstim battery under the skin. The InterStim battery may last from 5 to 7 years after which it may be replaced. The entire procedure is completely reversible and may be removed at anytime. Like many surgical implants- if you have an INTERSTIM you will not be able to have an MRI until the device is removed.

For more detailed information on bladder control treatments please visit the following InterStim web site:
http://www.medtronic.com/your-health/overactive-bladder/index.htm