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InterStim Therapy for Bowel Control

Interstim Therapy for Bowel Control

InterStim Therapy for Bowel Control (pdf)

What Is InterStim Therapy?

InterStim® Therapy is a reversible treatment that can be discontinued at any time by turning off or surgically removing the device. It sends mild electrical pulses to the sacral nerves.

Located near the tailbone, the sacral nerves helps control the muscles related to bowel function. If the brain and sacral nerves don't communicate correctly, the nerves will not tell the bowel to function properly. This can lead to symptoms of bowel incontinence. InterStim Therapy targets these symptoms by stimulating the sacral nerves with mild electrical pulses.

You can try InterStim Therapy during a trial assessment to find out whether it will work for you before making a long-term commitment. During the trial assessment, you'll wear an external neurostimulator on your waistband for several days. With long-term InterStim Therapy, a flexible wire (also known as a “lead” and pronounced “leed”) and a neurostimulator are implanted under the skin during a minimally invasive outpatient procedure.

InterStim Therapy may help you resume normal activities and help you avoid frustrating experiences associated with bowel incontinence.

When to Consider InterStim Therapy

Finding relief from the loss of bowel control can be a long journey. The graphic below shows an overview of treatment options for bowel incontinence. If you don’t have success with one treatment, don’t give up! Work with your doctor to try another option.

InterStim® Therapy may be an option if you have bowel control problems and have not had success with, or are not a candidate for, more conservative treatments. If your bowel control problem has become bothersome and is getting in the way of your active lifestyle, talk with your doctor about whether InterStim Therapy is right for you.

Tools for Helping Your Doctor Understand Your Condition

Keep a log of your symptoms, including how often you have bowel movements and leaks, and bring this information with you to your next appointment.

How much are bowel control issues affecting your life? Use the scoring system below to determine your symptom score. Print this page and write the answer that is closest to what you have recently experienced for each question in the score column.

The Wexner Score*

Choose the number that best describes the frequency you experience, based on the definitions below:

Rarely: Less than 2 per month
Sometimes: Less than 1 per week and 1 or more per month
Usually: Less than 1 per day and 1 or more per week
Always: 1 or more per day

Also, be sure to talk openly and be up-front with your doctor. Don’t minimize your symptoms or the impact that your bowel control problem has on your life.

Benefits and Risks – InterStim Therapy

If you’ve tried other treatments without success, InterStim® Therapy may provide you relief from bowel incontinence.

Benefits

InterStim Therapy is a reversible treatment option that can be discontinued at any time by turning off or removing the device. Many people with InterStim Therapy have reported:

  • Significantly improved quality of life
  • Total or significantly improved bowel control

Risks

As you consider the possible benefits, you should also explore the risks. The InterStim Therapy system has risks similar to any surgical procedure, including swelling, bruising, and bleeding. Complications can include pain at the implant site, new pain, infection, lead (thin wire) movement, technical or device problems, undesirable changes in urinary or bowel function, and uncomfortable stimulation. Any of these situations may require additional surgery or cause your symptoms to return. Always discuss the potential risks and benefits of the therapy with your doctor.

In most cases, these issues can be resolved, so talk to your doctor about your experience. (See Important Safety Information for possible adverse events.) This therapy is not for everyone. Please consult your doctor. A prescription is required.

Questions and Answers - InterStim Therapy

What is InterStim® Therapy?

InterStim Therapy is an option for managing the symptoms of bowel incontinence for people who have not found success with, or are not candidates for, more conservative treatments.

InterStim Therapy uses an implantable system, similar to a pacemaker, that sends mild electrical pulses to the sacral nerves. InterStim Therapy is reversible by turning off or surgically removing the neurostimulator.

Neurostimulation may help you resume normal activities and avoid frustrating experiences associated with bowel incontinence.

What do nerves have to do with bowel control?

The sacral nerves are involved in the control of bowel function. A breakdown of communication between the sacral nerves and the brain can lead to bowel control problems.

InterStim Therapy works with the sacral nerves, located near the tailbone. If the brain and sacral nerves don’t communicate correctly, the nerves can’t help the bowel work properly. This communication problem can lead to symptoms of bowel incontinence. InterStim Therapy targets these symptoms by stimulating the sacral nerves with mild electrical pulses.

What are the potential risks or complications of InterStim Therapy?

The InterStim Therapy system has risks similar to any surgical procedure, including swelling, bruising, and bleeding. Complications can include pain at the implant site, new pain, infection, lead (thin wire) movement, technical or device problems, undesirable changes in urinary or bowel function, and uncomfortable stimulation. Any of these situations may require additional surgery or cause your symptoms to return. Always discuss the potential risks and benefits of the therapy with your doctor.

See Important Safety Information for possible adverse events.

What are the benefits of InterStim Therapy?

InterStim Therapy may reduce symptoms for many people who suffer from bowel incontinence. Benefits include improved quality of life and reduction in accidents. In addition, InterStim Therapy can be discontinued at any time by turning off or surgically removing the device.

Where can I learn more about InterStim Therapy?

Request more information about InterStim Therapy for bowel control, or visit Medtronic's InterStim Therapy page here.

InterStim Therapy for Bowel Control (pdf)