How Successful is InterStim in the Treatment of Urinary Urgency, Urgency Incontinence, Urinary Retention and Fecal Incontinence?

InterStim may be a good treatment of urinary urgency, urge urinary incontinence, urinary retention or fecal incontinence. Many of these symptoms are first treated conservatively with behavioral modification and medications. Sometimes, physical therapy is also employed. If symptoms are still intolerable, or if patients cannot tolerate the medications used, InterStim is considered. InterStim is a dynamic form of treatment which can be adjusted based on your symptoms and response to stimulus.

InterStim is typically placed in 2 stages. Stage 1 is done as a trial to see if your symptoms improve with sacral nerve stimulation. If you and your doctor are happy with the results, Stage 2 is then done; a permanent battery is placed to continue providing sacral nerve stimulation. Both stages are done under sedation in an outpatient surgery setting and take approximately 30 minutes each.

Successful treatment with InterStim is considered a 50% or greater improvement in symptoms. An example would be if you use 6 pads per day for leakage, with InterStim your goal would be a decrease to 0-3 pads per day. Or if InterStim is placed for urinary retention, successful treatment would be considered going from self-catheterization 4 times a day to 0-2 times a day. While we always want 100% success, a 50% or greater improvement of symptoms may provide improvement in quality of life, decrease rate of infection and accidents.

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