InterStim Therapy

InterStim® Therapy is an FDA-approved treatment for urinary control problems in patients who have not had success with–or could not tolerate–more conventional treatments.

How does InterStim® Therapy work?

InterStim® Therapy works with the sacral nerves, located near your tailbone. Your nerves, which branch out to your organs, control a variety of functions. The sacral nerves control your bladder and the muscles related to urinary function. If the brain and sacral nerves don’t communicate correctly, the nerves will not tell the bladder to function properly, which can cause bladder control problems. InterStim® Therapy targets this communication problem by stimulating the nerves with mild electrical pulses. Once the device is implanted, the stimulation can easily be adjusted or deactivated by yourself at home, or by your doctor in a simple, in-office programming session.

How do I know InterStim® Therapy will work for me?

The best way to determine if InterStim® Therapy will work for you is to try a test stimulation. Many patients have such dramatic relief from their symptoms during the test, they can’t wait to have the permanent device surgically implanted.

The test stimulation involves placement of a thin wire worn in your back. The wire is connected to a small stimulator, which you’ll wear on a belt. The stimulator will send mild electrical pulses through the thin wire to one of your sacral nerves, and those pulses may get your bladder working the way it’s supposed to. During the test stimulation, which typically lasts three to seven days, you can continue many of your daily activities with caution.

During the test stimulation, you will be asked to keep a diary to document your urinary symptoms. Then you can review your diary with your doctor, and together you can decide if InterStim Therapy is right for you. If you’re experiencing the freedom from urinary control problems you’ve longed for, then you and your doctor can discuss long-term InterStim® Therapy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is InterStim® Therapy safe and proven effective?

A: Yes, InterStim® Therapy is safe and effective for patients who have not had success with more conservative treatments. It has been used to treat more than 40,000 patients worldwide. It was approved in Europe in 1994 and approved by the U.S. FDA in 1997 for urge incontinence and in 1999 for urinary retention and significant symptoms of urgency-frequency.

Q: Does it really work?

A: As you’ve read in the quotes throughout this brochure, InterStim® Therapy really has changed lives. In a clinical study, doctors found that nearly half of patients with urge incontinence who received InterStim® Therapy were completely dry after six months, and many others have experienced greatly reduced symptoms.

Q: What does the procedure entail?

A: Having the InterStim® system implanted requires a short surgery that is done in an operating room. You will have a small incision in your upper buttock, where your doctor will insert the neurostimulator under your skin. Also, you will have a small incision in your lower back, where a long-term electrode is inserted. The neurostimulator sends the electrical pulses through the thin wire to one of your sacral nerves. You may need to restrict your activities after the surgery. Talk to your physician about what will be appropriate.

Q: What side effects will I experience?

A: Side effects may include pain, skin irritation, infection, device problems, and lead migration. These conditions were generally resolvable in a clinical study.


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