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Questions and Answers - Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy

Urinary Retention

What is Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy?

Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy (Sacral Neuromodulation), delivered by the InterStim™ System, uses an implantable device that sends gentle electrical stimulation to the sacral nerves, located near the tailbone. The sacral nerves control the bladder and the muscles related to urination. If the brain and sacral nerves don’t communicate correctly, the nerves can’t tell the bladder to function properly. The gentle electrical stimulation from the InterStim™ System corrects this miscommunication.

Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy is an option for managing symptoms of urinary retention for people who have not found success with more conservative treatments, and whose urinary retention is not caused by a blockage such as cancer or an enlarged prostate.

Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy is reversible and can be discontinued at any time by turning off or removing the device.

Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy may help you resume normal activities, and help you avoid frustrating experiences associated with urinary retention.

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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 voiding urine.

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

Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy may reduce symptoms for many people who suffer from urinary retention. It can also significantly improve quality of life. 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 urinary retention, 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 the 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 adverse events. Please consult your doctor. This therapy is not for everyone. A prescription is required.

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How long has sacral neuromodulation 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 urinary retention 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 or call the Medtronic Technical Support Helpline on 01923 205101

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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.