Urge incontinence, which is characterized by an uncontrollable and sudden urge to urinate, is a distressing condition that significantly impacts quality of life for millions of people around the world. Traditional treatment options for urge incontinence, which includes medications and behavioral therapies, may not deliver the results people hope for. But there is an alternative, and it’s proving to offer the type of long-term relief that makes an enormous difference in the lives of people who are dealing with urge incontinence. It’s called sacral neuromodulation (SNM), a groundbreaking treatment modality with remarkable efficacy. Here’s what makes SNM the optimal therapeutic approach for managing urge incontinence.
Understanding Urge Incontinence
Urge incontinence is closely related to overactive bladder. Those who struggle with urge incontinence experience a sudden and strong urge to urinate, accompanied by involuntary urine leakage before reaching the restroom. It’s related to an overactive detrusor muscle, which contracts excessively and uncontrollably, leading to urgent and frequent urination episodes. As you might imagine, urge incontinence significantly impacts a person’s life, impeding daily activities, social interactions, and overall well-being. One of the goals of SNM therapy is getting people off incontinence medications, which are associated with all sorts of negative side effects. In fact, medications prescribed for incontinence are on AARP’s list to avoid due to memory and cognitive side effects.
How Does Sacral Neuromodulation Work?
Sacral neuromodulation involves the use of a small surgically implanted device that delivers mild electrical stimulation to the sacral nerves located near the tailbone at base of the spine. These nerves play a crucial role in regulating bladder function, including bladder sensation, coordination, and control. Like a pacemaker, SNM modulates the activity of the sacral nerves, which influences the communication between the bladder and the brain and restores more normal bladder function.
How Effective is Sacral Neuromodulation for Urge Incontinence?
Clinical studies have consistently demonstrated the impressive efficacy of sacral neuromodulation in the treatment of urge incontinence. Patients who have failed to treat incontinence naturally or experienced inadequate responses to medication have shown significant improvements in urinary symptoms, including a reduction in the frequency of urgency episodes, decreased urinary frequency, and decreased urine leakage. SNM has also been associated with demonstrable improvements in quality of life and patient satisfaction. Just ask our patients!
The right candidate for SMN can expect to enjoy the best outcomes from sacral neuromodulation for urge incontinence. Fortunately, studies indicate that individuals across all age groups benefit from the minor, 25-minute procedure. If you’re experiencing overactive bladder that wakes you up at night, find yourself needing pads or diapers, or can’t seem to fully empty your bladder, sacral neuromodulation is worth a closer look.
SNM: What to Expect
The sacral neuromodulation device implantation is performed in two outpatient minor procedures. During the first visit, a temporary electrode is placed to evaluate the patient’s response to neuromodulation. If a significant improvement in urge incontinence symptoms is observed, a permanent implantation is then performed, which involves the placement of a small, fully internalized neurostimulator. Post-operative follow-up includes programming adjustments, patient education, and ongoing monitoring of symptom improvement, device functionality, and patient satisfaction.
Sacral neuromodulation is considered a safe procedure, with a low incidence of serious adverse events. As with any surgical intervention, there are potential risks, which can include infection, device-related complications, and lead migration. Thorough patient counseling, appropriate preoperative optimization, and adherence to established surgical guidelines help mitigate these risks. Regular follow-up visits and maintenance of the device’s functionality through battery checks and programming adjustments are also important for ensuring the long-term safety and efficacy of sacral neuromodulation.
The Bottom Line
Sacral neuromodulation has emerged as the optimal treatment for urge incontinence, offering remarkable efficacy, long-term symptom relief, and improved quality of life for patients. By modulating the activity of the sacral nerves, SNM addresses the underlying pathophysiology of urge incontinence and gives patients with a renewed sense of control and confidence. Through careful patient selection, meticulous evaluation, and comprehensive follow-up, sacral neuromodulation stands as a transformative therapeutic modality, revolutionizing the management of urge incontinence and enhancing patient outcomes.
If you’re ready to learn more about this treatment for urge incontinence, contact Nevada Surgical team today.