InterStim Therapy is indicated for the treatment of overactive bladder, including urinary urgency and frequency, urinary urge-incontinence, non-obstructive urinary retention or incomplete emptying of the bladder, and fecal incontinence.
The bladder itself is a muscle, which contracts when nerves that innervate the bladder release acetylcholine into the bladder muscle. In men and women with overactive bladder (urinary urgency, frequency, or urge incontinence), using medicines that block this acetylcholine “relax” the bladder muscle. These medicines include Detrol. Ditropan, Sanctura, Enablex, Vesicare, Toviaz, and Gelnique.
If these medicines don’t work, there can be an issue with the sensory nerves that travel back to the brain which tells brain that the bladder is full, when, in fact, there is not a high volume of urine in the bladder.
InterStim therapy works by altering the sensory (sacral) nerves from the bladder. If medication has not worked for you, your symptoms may not be due to the bladder muscle itself, but rather to a miscommunication between your brain and the nerves that innervate your bladder. Gentle stimulation of these nerves may improve your symptoms.
The diagnostic evaluation is a minimally invasive procedure with no incision. The average evaluation lasts from 15-30 minutes. Your physician will begin by numbing your skin over your tailbone with local anesthetic and then placing two small thin wires under the skin near the tail bone with a needle. The nerves that control bladder and bowel function are found below this area.
The two thin wires will be attached to an external device which will accompany you for approximately three to five days. The device will provide mild pulses of energy to the nerves that control the bladder as you return to your normal activities. Over the course of the test period, if you show an improvement in symptoms of 50% or greater, you may be a candidate for long-term treatment with InterStim therapy.