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Questions and Answers

Overactive Bladder

What is Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy?

Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy (Sacral Neuromodulation, delivered by the InterStim™ System) uses an implantable device to send mild electrical pulses to the sacral nerves, located near the tailbone. The sacral nerves control the bladder and muscles related to urination. If the brain and sacral nerves are miscommunicating, the nerves can't tell the bladder to function properly.

The mild electrical pulses from Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy regulate the sacral nerves. This helps the brain and the nerves to communicate so the bladder and related muscles can function properly.

Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy is an option for managing the symptoms of overactive bladder for people who tried other treatments such as medications and behavioral therapy, and those treatments have not worked or were not well tolerated.

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What do nerves have to do with urination?

The sacral nerves control the bladder and muscles related to urination. A breakdown of communication between the sacral nerves and the brain can lead to problems with storing and voiding urine.

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What are the benefits and potential side effects or complications of Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy?

For many people who suffer from overactive bladder, Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy may reduce symptoms that cannot be adequately treated with treatments like medications or behavioural therapy. Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy is reversible and can be discontinued at any time by turning off or removing the device. Unlike other surgical treatment options for OAB, Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy starts with an evaluation. During this evaluation you can experience how it feels and how it works, prior to going forward with the implant procedure.

Implanting an InterStim™ System has risks similar to any surgical procedure, including swelling, bruising, bleeding, and infection. Talk with your doctor about ways to minimise these risks.

Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy might cause you to experience some of these side effects:

  • Pain at the implant site or new pain
  • Infection or skin irritation
  • Lead (thin wire) movement/migration
  • Device problems
  • Interactions with certain other devices or diagnostic equipment
  • Undesirable changes in urinary or bowel function
  • Uncomfortable stimulation (sometimes described as a jolting or shocking feeling)

Problems may be resolved with surgery, medication, or programming. These events may also resolve over time. There is a possibility that some may remain unresolved. See Important Safety Information for possible complications. Please consult your doctor. This therapy is not for everyone. 

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How long has Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy been around?

The InterStim™ System received its CE mark for the treatment of chronic intractable function disorders of the pelvis, lower urinary and intestinal tract in 1994. Today over 225,000 patient have been treated worldwide. It's a proven treatment option for people who have not had success with more conservative OAB treatments.

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Can I have an MRI when I have an InterStim™ system?

Getting an MRI head scan may be possible under specific conditions. For more information, talk with your InterStim™ doctor.

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Where can I get more information?

For more information, talk with your InterStim™ doctor or call the Medtronic Technical Support Helpline on 01923 205101. 

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.