What is Interstim Therapy?

What is InterStim Therapy?

InterStim therapy is a treatment that

may relieve urinary and bowel control symptoms. InterStim therapy

involves surgically implanting a small neurostimulator device and a

lead, which delivers gentle stimulation to the sacral nerve, much like a

pacemaker does for your heart. The stimulation may reduce your

symptoms to a tolerable level, enabling you to resume many of your

daily functions.

Bladder control problems are often caused by interruptions in the

communication between the brain and the bladder. The InterStim

system can “jump start” the signals traveling along the nerves to your

bladder, and help restore more normal bladder function.

Is InterStim right for me? Many women experience symptoms of

over active bladder (OAB), urinary frequency and urgency, urge

incontinence or urinary retention. Your doctor may recommend

InterStim therapy if medication, biofeedback therapy, pelvic floor

physical therapy or behavior modification have not provided enough

benefit for you.

InterStim trial

Step 1: Basic Evaluation: A basic evaluation is a

minimally invasive procedure, performed in the

office, under local anesthesia. Two temporary

leads (special wires) are placed through a pinpoint

opening in your sacrum. After the leads are

positioned and secured, stimulation is delivered to

your sacral nerve as you go about your normal

activities. You will return to the office one week

later for removal of the leads. If your urinary

symptoms improve significantly with stimulation,

you may proceed to InterStim implant (Step 3).

Step 2: If the results of the basic evaluation are inconclusive your

doctor may recommend another test called an Advanced Evaluation,

involving one or two outpatient surgeries performed under light

sedation about two weeks apart. A chronic lead will be implanted near

your tailbone during the procedure. During the trial period, an

InterStim nurse or technician will instruct you to test different settings

on the lead using a control box. If the test is successful, you will

proceed to step 3. If there was not marked improvement in symptoms

during the trial the lead will be removed.

Step 3: If your trial phase was the basic evaluation, you will have the

permanent lead implanted in the sacrum, which will be connected to a

small pulse generator implanted in your buttock. If you underwent the

advanced evaluation and had improvement in your urinary symptoms,

you will have the pulse generator connected to the existing lead.

After InterStim implant you will have follow up appointments with

your doctor to make sure the device is programmed in the best way to

control your symptoms. You will receive a remote control device to

control stimulation, and you may see the InterStim nurse or technician

as needed to adjust settings for optimal benefit. This may take a few

visits after the initial implant. Once the most appropriate settings are

determined, you will need to be followed annually or as needed.

Patients can expect up to 5 years of benefit before the device may

need to be replaced due to battery depletion.