Sacral Nerve Stimulation Chattanooga TN
What is sacral neuromodulation?
In some patients, medications may not be effective enough in controlling the symptoms of Overactive Bladder (OAB) and they may still suffer bothersome urinary frequency, urgency or urine leakage. In others, side effects from medications or other medical conditions that interfere with taking OAB medications may limit their usefulness. In these patients who have moderate or severe symptoms of OAB, other therapies, often called Advanced Therapies, may help to relieve the symptoms of OAB.
One of these Advanced Therapies is called Sacral Neuromodulation. Sacral Neuromodulation uses tiny electrical signals to change the way that the message about when you need to urinate is sent from the bladder to the brain. This helps the brain and bladder communicate in a more normal way and improves the urinary frequency, urgency and urine leakage in many patients.
In Sacral Neuromodulation, the message to the bladder is sent through a small wire that is buried beneath the skin. The signal is generated by a small battery that is placed beneath the skin of the buttocks.
What is involved with placing a sacral neuromodulation device?
Since the therapy does not work in every patient, a test is first run to see if you will respond to Sacral Neuromodulation. This is done by placing a small wire near the nerve to the bladder by the tailbone. This can be done either in the office or the operating room. If the symptoms of urgency, frequency or leakage improve, the battery is then placed in a second procedure. If patients do not see significant improvement during the testing phase, all of the wires are removed completely.
Since the device is placed underneath the skin, we do need to make small incisions in the skin to place it. These incisions are located over the buttocks and are less than 2 inches long (about the length of a paper clip).
Placement of the wire in the operating room is an outpatient (same-day) procedure that usually takes about an hour. Patients may resume most activities the next day.
Is sacral neuromodulation new or experimental?
Sacral Neuromodulation has been approved by the FDA for treatment of Urgency Incontinence since 1997. Over the years, the uses for Sacral Neuromodulation have grown and we now use this technology to treat patients who have urinary frequency and urgency, who have difficulty emptying their bladders, or who have trouble controlling bowel incontinence.
Who is should consider sacral neuromodulation?
Advanced Therapies, including Sacral Neuromodulation, are appropriate for patients with moderate or severe symptoms of Overactive Bladder (OAB) including urinary frequency, urgency or leakage (incontinence), who have continued bothersome symptoms after other treatments or who are not able to use other treatments.
Sacral Neuromodulation is not for everyone. Patients must be able to use the controller and should not have the need for an MRI below the head, as the neuromodulator would have to be removed to facilitate this.
What is my next step?
At UT Urology, we have extensive experience with sacral neuromodulation. Dr. Goudelocke has been performing these procedures for over a decade and currently performs over 100 sacral neuromodulation procedures each year, more than any other physician in the region. We have the only urologists in the region who have completed advanced fellowship training including a focus on incontinence. Our experience includes working with complex patients who may have problems with their prior treatments. We frequently teach other physicians how to perform these procedures.
Schedule an appointment in the OAB Clinic for your evaluation and let us help you to take control of the urinary symptoms that are interfering with your life.