When medications and pelvic floor exercises fail to fix an overactive bladder, it’s time to move to the next step of treatment. Women whose bladder leakage is in the high-moderate to severe range have a surgical option that is extremely successful. Even though previous treatments haven’t worked, there is still hope for these women. Dr. Christi has implanted many successful Interstim devices, and the results are life-changing.
The Interstim device, created by Medtronic, is inserted into your lower back and has a neuro-stimulator that moderates the signals travelling back and forth along the bladder nerve. It has been around for more than 20 years, and is a proven treatment that permanently cures overactive bladder symptoms.
The Interstim device consists of a thin lead, which sits next to the 3rd sacral nerve root in the lower back area, and a silver dollar-sized intermittent pulse generator. The device is controlled by a remote control that communicates through the skin to turn it on and off, up and down. The neuro-stimulator communicates with the bladder nerves to restore normal function.
Interstim is designed for women with an overactive bladder who go to the bathroom too often, suddenly lose urine because of a bladder spasm, or cannot make it to the bathroom in time. Many of these women have tried numerous medications and pelvic floor exercises, that have failed, and they have what we call refractory overactive bladder or refractory urge incontinence.
If it seems like nothing is working for your overactive bladder, Interstim may finally solve your problem.
The device is actually not implanted anywhere near the bladder. It is placed in the lower back area, near the nerves that control bladder function.
Inserting the Interstim device is a 2-step process:
Phase 1: A lead is placed in the lower back, under mild sedation in the operating room. A couple of small incisions are used to implant the lead, and then we do a test run for a week or two to see how it affects your symptoms. If the test is successful, and you notice at least 50 % improvement in your number of trips to the bathroom and/or bladder accidents, then we proceed to the second phase.
Phase 2: The intermittent pulse generator is implanted. This very simple procedure creates about a half-inch pocket under the skin in the buttock area. Then, the lead is plugged into the generator and absorbable stitches close the wound.
Downtime is minimal, and you may resume normal activity in about a week.
Once the device is set and working well, you can forget about it and get back to normal. In head-to-head studies between Interstim and other bladder treatments, Interstim had the best results in quality of life. When the battery wears out (about 5 years after it is inserted), you will need a quick follow-up procedure to have a new intermittent pulse generator placed.
The Interstim device is truly freeing and life changing. Dr. Christi has studied the optimal way to place the device, and has truly mastered the procedure.
Call our office at 281.717.4003 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Christi and find out if Interstim is the answer to your bladder problems.