A new procedure, available at the Bon Secours Digestive Health Institute, is giving hope to patients with incontinence, helping them take back control of their lives and stop worrying about where the nearest bathroom is located.
Sacral nerve stimulation helps patients better control the muscles in their pelvic floor that control bowel and bladder movements. It also increases sensitivity so patients can better feel if they need to use the restroom. The treatment is minimally invasive, safe and reversible.
During the minimally invasive surgical procedure, which is often done on an outpatient basis using only local anesthesia, a small neurotransmitter is implanted just above the buttock. A lead wire connects to the sacral nerve, which is located in the lower back, just above the tailbone. This transmitter uses small electrical pulses to stimulate the sacral nerve which controls the pelvic floor muscle.
The treatment is completely reversible and does not harm the nerves. It can be used to help control a range of pelvic floor issues, including urinary and fecal incontinence. A new transmitter may need to be implanted every three to five years in order to replace the battery. These procedures are short, taking only 15 to 30 minutes.
If treatments such as physical therapy and dietary changes have not helped you regain control, talk to your physician about sacral nerve stimulation. Though it is not right for everyone, it can greatly improve the quality of life for many patients with incontinence.