What is InterStim sacral nerve modulation?
InterStim sacral nerve modulation is a therapy treatment that can resolve the symptoms associated with fecal and urinary incontinence in women. InterStim is an implantable device that sends mild electrical pulses to the sacral nerves. The sacral nerves, or sacral plexus, control the muscles related to urinary and rectal function. This therapy is necessary when the brain and sacral nerves do not adequately communicate, causing bladder and bowel accidents.
InterStim therapy can be used to treat:
- Urge incontinence, a loss of urine when you feel a strong need to go to the bathroom
- Urinary retention (non-obstructive), the inability to empty your bladder without the use of a catheter
- Urinary urgency and frequency
- Fecal incontinence, the inability to control bowel movements, causing stool to leak unexpectedly from your rectum.
What can I expect during the procedure?
This is a minimally-invasive procedure done under sedation in 2 phases approximately two weeks apart – a test phase and a final implantation phase. A small incision is made on the lower back, just above the buttock. The electrode (or nerve stimulator in the second stage) is then inserted through the incision.
Dr. Antonini will then check the InterStim handheld remote to make sure that everything is working correctly. Lastly, the incision site is closed up and dressed. After that, the procedure is complete, and Dr. Antonini will discuss post-op care, guidelines, and instructions on how to use the handheld remote.
How do I use InterStim?
Using InterStim’s handheld remote, you will be in control of the stimulation that you feel. Using the control knob, you can increase or decrease the amplitude, depending on how much sensation you feel in the vagina or rectal area. Remember, you should always feel comfortable.
Am I a candidate?
A benefit of InterStim sacral nerve modulation treatments is that they can be tried temporarily to see if it resolves your symptoms. With the test stimulation, you can try InterStim therapy for 4-7 days to experience the stimulation of the nerves. This testing allows you and Dr. Antonini to determine if the full procedure will help you.
Request an appointment at Central Texas Urogynecology & Continence Center
If you suffer from urinary or fecal incontinence, schedule a consultation at our continence center in Austin. We will assess your symptoms and create a treatment plan just for you. To get started, give us a call at 512-716-0861 or request an appointment on our website.