Medtronic InterStim® Therapy


What is InterStim therapy?

InterStim therapy is a method for people who have fecal or urinary incontinence and want to regain continence.

What is incontinence and how does it occur?

Fecal or urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of bowel or urine, the sudden urge to go to the bathroom but sometimes not making it all the way there before having an accident, leakage of fecal matter or urine throughout the day or night, etc. In your lower back there are nerves called sacral nerves. Sacral nerves are the nerves that control the muscles related to urinary and fecal function. Sometimes, the sacral nerves and brain can miscommunicate which leads to the nerves not being able to tell the muscles how and when to function properly, inevitably resulting in involuntary movements.

How does InterStim work?

InterStim starts out with a trial period, called a trial stimulation period which last between 3-5 days. If the trial period is successful for you, then you can have the permanent implant.

How does the trial stimulation period work?

The InterStim device is attached to the sacral nerves in your back, after being given a local anesthetic (a shot to numb the area); this procedure will only take about 30 minutes. During the trial the stimulation device is on the outside of the skin. Attached to the device will be a remote; you will use this remote to change the level of stimulation for your needs.

What happens when the Trial Stimulation period is over?

When the 3-5 days are up, you will need to come to the office, the Trial Stimulation device will be removed, then you can discuss with the doctor if this is something you’d like to continue. If you do decide to continue with this therapy, a permanent stimulation device can be implanted.

How is the permanent device implanted?

After a local anesthetic (a shot to numb the area) the permanent stimulation device is implanted in the same place as the trail device. This time the device will stay under your skin therefore this procedure will take about an hour. Before this procedure your doctor will ask which setting you found was best for you during the trial time and will set the device to the appropriate level, therefore the remote will no longer be permanently attached. When the level of stimulation needs to be changed, all you will have to do is change the setting and hold the wireless remote on the site where the device was implanted.

Do I have to meet some requirement to qualify for InterStim therapy?

There is no age limit to obtain this therapy; there is no prescription medication that you had to of tried before this. Your level of incontinence doesn’t have to be at a certain level of severity; you can have any level of incontinence. Even if you have other back or nerve conditions, this therapy can still be done.

Have the results of this type of therapy been successful?

Medtronic® studies have shown that the InterStim Therapy validated a significant decline in fecal incontinence 12 months after permanent implant. Medtronic’s InterStim therapy has proven to be one of the best treatment options. The best part about this is that if you decide this isn’t the right treatment for you, the trial stimulator can be removed and you won’t have to continue the process.