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About Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy


Our medical technologies, including Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy (Sacral Neuromodulation), help make it possible for millions of people to resume everyday activities, return to work, and live better.

What is it?


Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy, delivered through the Neuromodulation System, is an FDA-approved therapy that targets the communication problem between the brain and the nerves that control bowel function.1,2 The therapy uses an external neurostimulator during an evaluation period. For long-term therapy, the neurostimulator is inside your body.

Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy (Sacral Neuromodulation) is a treatment option that targets the communication problem between the brain and the sacral nerves. These nerves help control the muscles related to bowel function. If the brain and sacral nerves don't communicate correctly, bowels will not function properly.1,2 This can lead to symptoms of bowel incontinence. Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy targets these symptoms by modulating the sacral nerves with mild electrical pulses.

Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy may help you resume normal activities and help you avoid frustating experiences associated with bowel incontinence.

Test it out

You can try Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy during an evaluation to find out whether it will work for you before making a long-term commitment. For the evaluation, a thin wire is inserted in your upper buttock and attached to a small external device that you can wear discreetly under your clothing. During the evaluation, which lasts several days, you still have the freedom to do most of your regular daily activities.

Complications can occur with the evaluation, including 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 inform you of other precautions related to the evaluation and activity restrictions.

With the long-term 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.

Learn more about the evaluation

When to consider Medtronic bowel control therapy

Finding relief from the loss of bowel control can be a long journey. However, you have options, and there is hope for relief.


The graphic on the right 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.

Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy, delivered through the Neuromodulation System, may be an option if you have chronic 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 the System is right for you.

Bowel Treatment Pathway

Benefits and risks

If you’ve tried other treatments without success, Medtronic bowel control therapy (Sacral Neuromodulation) may provide you relief from chronic bowel incontinence.


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

  • Significantly improved quality of life3
  • Control to stop or greatly reduce accidents3

Studies of patients followed for one year found that seven out of every 10 patients experienced at least a 50% reduction in weekly accidents compared with accidents before starting Medtronic therapy.3


As you consider the possible benefits, you should also explore the risks. The Neuromodulation 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.



Gourcerol G. et al. How sacral nerve stimulation works in patients with faecal incontinence. Colorectal Dis. 13(8):e203-11 (2011) 


Sheldon, R., Kiff, E. S., Clarke, A., Harris, M. L. & Hamdy, S. Sacral nerve stimulation reduces corticoanal excitability in patients with faecal incontinence. Br. J. Surg. 92, 1423–1431 (2005)


Wexner SD, Coller JA, Devroede G, et al. Sacral nerve stimulation for fecal incontinence: Results of a 120-patient prospective multicenter study. Ann Surg. 2010;251(3):441-449.

Medical disclaimer

Information contained herein is not medical advice and should not be used as an alternative to speaking with your doctor. Discuss indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, adverse events and any further information with your health care professional.