FDA-approved procedure provides minimally invasive treatment for incontinence.
Struggling with bladder control can be a major hindrance to daily life and keep you from doing the things you love. While there are various treatments and medications available for incontinence, very few offer a long-term solution to a condition that can change frequently.
To provide incontinence patients with an adaptable treatment option, Aiken Regional Medical Centers offers InterStim® Therapy. This minimally invasive, FDA-approved procedure implants a small device in the pelvic area that uses a mild electrical pulse to help restore bladder control.
Darren Mack, MD, is a urologist at Aiken Regional and the only urologist in the Aiken area to perform the InterStim Therapy procedure. He explains that it is used as a third-line therapy, only after non-invasive methods have proven ineffective.
Who's a Good Candidate?
To determine if a patient is an appropriate candidate, a 10-minute test is performed in-office. “Using local anesthesia, we place a small wire and battery into the pelvic bone where the sacral nerves live,” Dr. Mack explains. “We then wait three to five days to see if symptoms have lessened. Once the patient is deemed an appropriate candidate, the wire is removed and the procedure to install the device is performed.”
Dr. Mack says one of the device’s benefits is that it can be removed at any time. “Unlike a major procedure like a hip replacement, you’re not stuck with it if it proves ineffective for you,” he explains. Additionally, the strength of the electrical pulse can be modified to accommodate changes in the patient’s condition.
Having been in practice for seven years, Dr. Mack says he has seen InterStim Therapy grow into a more commonly offered procedure. “Many people hesitate to try a medication or procedure that’s brand new, so FDA approval and 20 years of data can be a relief for them,” he says.
Dr. Mack believes that the device’s greatest strengths are its adaptability to symptoms and lasting effectiveness. “Treating incontinence can be difficult because it often changes as other health issues develop, and it’s a common condition for an aging population,” he says. “We want to be a leader in offering therapies that help patients long-term, not just to stave off the problem.”
In addition to InterStim Therapy, urologists at Aiken Regional offer a broad spectrum of treatment options for incontinence. These include preventative options, such as dietary and lifestyle changes, as well as physical therapy and procedures such as Botox® injection.