What to Expect During Sacral Nerve Stimulation

When patients still struggle to control their bladder after taking medication to address the issue, the Affiliated Urologists team may recommend sacral nerve stimulation. 

This procedure treats a number of common conditions including urinary retention, urge incontinence, and urgency-frequency conditions like overactive bladder. It works by using minimally invasive surgery to implant a small neurotransmitter device near the lower back area. The device sends electrical impulses near the sacral nerve.

Why the Sacral Nerve?

The sacral nerve is located in the lower back. These nerves control the rectum, bladder muscles, and more. When the bladder is full, it expands and puts pressure on the sacral nerve and sends signals to the brain and the brain sends signals back saying to empty the bladder. If the nerve is damaged, it may be miscommunicating and sending the wrong signals to the brain. That’s where sacral nerve stimulation comes in.

What to Expect

At Affiliated Urologists, we use an FDA-approved nerve stimulation treatment called Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy by InterStim. We’ve found that using an InterStim system can give patients long-term relief from urge incontinence.

After the patient’s initial consultation, their physician will give them pre-operative instructions. This may include avoiding food and beverages besides in the hours leading up to the surgery. During the procedure, the surgeon will make a small incision just above the buttock. This is where the InterStim device will go. Next, another small incision is made on the lower back near the sacral nerves. A thin wire will connect the device to the area surrounding the sacral nerves. Patients should expect a short procedure. Since it is minimally invasive, patients recover quicker than with traditional surgery.

The level of electrical impulses is pre-programmed by the physician, but the patient may be able to control the levels themselves. You may be asked to come in for a follow-up appointment at Affiliated Urologists so we can adjust the level accordingly. We are often asked whether patients can feel the electrical impulses. Our patients may feel the sensation at first, but after a while the feeling may go unnoticed.

Affiliated Urologists is an award-winning practice recognized both locally and nationally that has provided service to patients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and surrounding communities in the Valley, for over 40 years. The physicians emphasize top-of-the-line comprehensive urological care and strive to deliver the highest outcomes for patient satisfaction. To make an appointment, call 602-264-0608 or visit http://affiliatedurologists.com/contact/ for instructions on scheduling an appointment.

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material. 

New patients are always welcome.

Affiliated Urologists


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