This article appeared in our Spring 2013 Update publication.
For men and women who have exhausted all other options for the treatment of overactive bladder or urinary incontinence, Gifford’s Urology Department is offering a new alternative – Medtronic InterStim Therapy, or sacral nerve stimulation.
The therapy involves surgery to place a small, thin device that looks and works much like a pacemaker under the skin in the upper buttock. The device is connected to leads, or soft wires, that are placed near the sacral nerves, sending mild stimulation to the nerves.
“It’s stimulates the nerves that affect the bladder. It turns off the sensory input to some degree and increases motor function,” urologist Dr. Richard Graham explains.
“This is an option for the patient who has tried everything and nothing has worked,” he says.
For patients who have tried other options without success, one major plus of this procedure is that patients can try the device in advance of undergoing surgery.
Right in the office, at either Gifford’s Randolph urology practice or the Twin River Health Center in White River Junction, Dr. Graham or physician assistant Nancy Blessing can insert the leads under the skin near the tailbone and test for a reaction. Patients then go home with an external device for a few days to see if it helps.
Usually the goal is to decrease one’s number of trips to the bathroom by at least half, notes Vice President of Surgery Rebecca O’Berry. Ultimately, it’s up to the patient to decide if, based on the results, he or she wants to have the surgery.
People who are interested in learning more about this option or who have untreated incontinence or overactive bladder, should call Gifford’s urology team in Randolph at 728-2470 or White River Junction at 296-7370 to set up an appointment to discuss this and the many other treatment options available.