InterStim therapy offers hope to those struggling with bladder control. It is a unique therapy that utilizes an implantable device to regulate the sacral nerves responsible for controlling bladder function.
When your body functions correctly, nerves signal your brain when your bladder is full and needs to empty. When you experience troublesome symptoms like leaking urine, there may be a disruption in the communication between your brain and your bladder.
InterStim can offer improved well-being and quality of life to individuals dealing with conditions such as overactive bladder and urinary retention by enhancing communication between the brain and these vital nerves.
How InterStim Works
InterStim utilizes a compact neurostimulator device strategically implanted beneath the skin in the buttock area. This device is connected to leads that emit electrical pulses. These pulses effectively stimulate the sacral nerves, improving signals between the brain and essential muscle groups that control bladder function.
Benefits of InterStim Therapy
- Precise relief. InterStim directly relieves symptoms by targeting the sacral nerves to address the underlying issue.
- Improved quality of life. Regaining control over your bladder can significantly enhance your life quality, confidence, and overall well-being.
- Reversible technology. InterStim therapy is adaptable, allowing you to deactivate or remove the device if you prefer or wish to pursue alternate treatments.
- Personalized approach. The device can be tailored to meet your needs by your urologist using an app that remotely connects to the InterStim unit.
InterStim Procedure Overview
Before undergoing the procedure, you will have a consultation and evaluation with your doctor to determine if this therapy is a good treatment option. Your medical history, symptoms, and previous treatments are reviewed during the consultation.
- Trial phase
Before the implantation is performed, a trial assessment is conducted. This involves placing leads to the sacral nerves and connecting them to an external stimulator. The trial phase typically lasts one to two weeks, allowing you and your doctor to assess the therapy’s effectiveness and suitability. If stimulation of your sacral nerves isn’t providing you the symptom relief you desire, the external implant is simple to remove.
- InterStim placement
Once it is determined that you are a good candidate, the implantation procedure will be done. This includes administering anesthesia to numb the area where the implant will be placed. In some cases, mild sedation may also be provided for comfort.
The neurostimulator device, about the size of a stopwatch, is implanted through an incision in the buttock area. Thin, insulated wires called leads are positioned near the nerves using needle insertion and connected to the neurostimulator device.
When both the device and leads are securely in place, the device is activated. Initial settings are adjusted according to your needs.
- Post-placement and recovery
Once the correct position and functionality of this system have been confirmed, the incisions will be closed. A dressing will be applied to the wound site. The InterStim implant procedure is minimally invasive, and you can typically go home on the same day. Some discomfort at the incision site may be managed with over-the-counter pain medication and rest from activities for several days.
- Follow-up and adjustments
After the procedure, you will have follow-up appointments with your doctor to monitor progress and make any adjustments to the device settings to ensure functionality and that your symptoms are being controlled.
Is InterStim the Right Choice for You?
If you have exhausted treatment options such as medications, lifestyle modifications, or other therapies without finding relief, InterStim Therapy could offer hope. Talking to a urologist about your symptoms, medical history, and treatment objectives is the first step to determine if InterStim is right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the implantation procedure for InterStim cause pain?
The implantation process for the InterStim device is minimally invasive and generally involves only mild discomfort. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area, and after the procedure, pain medication may be prescribed to manage any discomfort while your incision heals.
How soon can I expect results from InterStim therapy?
The response to InterStim therapy may vary among individuals. While some patients experience relief of symptoms once the device is activated, others may notice improvement over time. Regular communication with your doctor will help you optimize the device and tailor its settings to your needs.
Can InterStim completely cure my condition?
InterStim therapy is an advanced technology designed to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. InterStim functions as a management tool and is not a cure. However, if you or someone close to you is exploring treatment options for bladder and bowel control problems, it’s worth seeing what InterStim therapy offers.