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InterStim Therapy

You Have Choices. There is hope for relief

Finding relief from bowel control or urinary control problems can be a long journey. InterStim® Therapy may be an option if you suffer from loss of bowel control and have not had success with, or are not a candidate for more conservative treatments. Note: This therapy is not for everyone & not everyone will receive the same results. 

What is InterStim® Therapy?

InterStim therapy is a proven neuromodulation therapy that targets the communication problem between the brain and the nerves that control bowel function.  If those nerves are not communicating correctly, the bowel muscles may not function properly and may cause bowel control problems. 

The InterStim system uses an external device during a trial assessment period and an internal device for long-term therapy. You and your doctor may decide to try InterStim Therapy by going through a trial assessment period. Based on the outcome of the trial assessment, you and your doctor will determine the next step that is right for you.

InterStim® Therapy was created by Medtronic, the developer of the pacemaker, and was FDA approved for bowel control in 2011 and for bladder control in 1997. It has been in use in Europe since 1994 for both conditions.

The Trial Assessment Process

Medtronic has created a trial assessment of several days so you can test the therapy without making a long-term commitment. 

Here's How It works:

Your doctor will implant a flexible wire (also known as a "lead" and pronounced "leed") near your tailbone.  The wire is taped to your skin and is connected to a small external device which you'll wear on your waistband.

The external device sends mild electrical pulses through the wire to nerves near your tailbone which may get your bowel working the way it is supposed to.

During the trial assessment you can continue many of your daily low to moderate level activities with caution. You can usually continue to work throughout your trial assessment if your job doesn't require strenuous movement. You will be asked to document your bowel control problems. The trial assessment will help to determine the next course of treatment for your bowel control problems.

Complications can occur with the trial assessment including implant site pain, movement of the wire, technical problems with the device, and some temporary pain. Your doctor or nurse will provide you with information regarding how to operate the test device and also inform you of other precautions related to the trial assessment and activity restrictions.

Keep a Log of your Symptoms

Document how often you have bowel movements and leaks using a form like this. Bring this with you to your next appointment.

Talk Openly & Be Up-Front

Don't minimize your symptoms or the impact that your bowel control problem has on your life.  

InterStim® Therapy Common Questions

Will my everyday activities be affected during the trial assessment?

Will the trial assessment cure my condition? 

What does the stimulation feel like?

What are the risks of long-term InterStim Therapy?

What is the next step after the trial assessment?

 
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