Interstim therapy is an effective treatment for an overactive bladder that introduces a gentle stimulation or pulsing feeling where the sacral nerves reside. Electrical impulses travel from the brain to the organs and muscles in the pelvis via the sacral nerves. These impulses are responsible for urinary and fecal elimination, muscle coordination, reproductive organs, and the genitals.
Scientists have discovered that the exquisite coordination of organs and muscles in the pelvis necessary for normal, pain-free function can become disrupted by any number of events. Bladder infections, childbirth, hysterectomies, bowel and bladder surgeries, prostate surgeries, genetic predisposition, or almost any other pelvic event can cause damage to the sacral nerves that may lead to faulty nerve impulses traversing the nerves causing pelvic floor dysfunction, urgency-frequency, and pelvic pain.
The mild stimulation provided by the Interstim stimulator serves to connect the communication signals to the sacral nerves and thereby improving urinary frequency, urge incontinence, urinary retention, interstitial cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and several other ailments.
What to Expect
Not a single patient has ever suffered a non-reversible health consequences as a result of Interstim sacral nerve stimulation, and the treatment is reversible should the patient decide not to continue with the therapy for any reason. Here is a breakdown of the things that will occur on the day of your procedure:
Interstim is unique in that a test stimulation is performed to assess the effectiveness of the therapy prior to placing a permanent implant. Interstim test procedure may be performed in the office under local anesthetic with or without sedation. Small wires are placed with the help of a needle through the skin without making any incisions. The temporary lead is plugged into a temporary stimulator that can be worn on the waistband either inside or outside of the clothing. The Interstim temporary stimulator is used for one week, or less, to assess the results of the stimulation.
Interstim Implant Permanent Stimulator
After approximately seven days, you will return to the office with your voiding diary. The pre and post diaries will be compared and your Doctor will review the results with you and your family. If the test was a success, you may elect to have the Interstim Implanted Stimulator placed. This simple procedure is done in the hospital on an outpatient basis.
After the Procedure
Following your Interstim therapy, it is recommended that you take Tylenol or prescribed medication for pain treatment. Do not remove the dressing over the lead wires. You may shower 24 hours after the procedure. Be sure to unplug the test box prior to showering. The temporary Interstim unit is small enough to be worn inside or outside of your clothing and is powered by an ordinary 9-volt battery. The device also has a clip that can be used to hold the unit on the waistband.
After the procedure, contact Dr. Huffer and his team if you experience:
- Signs of infection such as fever over 101 degrees, redness, tenderness or swelling at the incision site, or foul-smelling yellow drainage from the incision site (a small amount of drainage is normal).