InterStim Therapy

An Effective Option for Bladder Control Problems

InterStim Therapy® is a proven neuromodulation therapy that targets problems with the nerve response between the brain and bladder. The therapy involves implanting an electronic device that acts like a pacemaker for the bladder – it is often used to help people who have not had success with medications or biofeedback options.

InterStim Therapy is used to treat:

  • Urinary urgency (a sudden and compelling desire to pass urine)
  • Urinary incontinence (involuntary urination)
  • Frequent urination (having to go to the bathroom often, especially at night)
  • Bladder leakage
  • Urinary retention (inability to completely empty the bladder)
  • Fecal incontinence

Learn more about InterStem Therapy in these sections:

How It Works

InterStim Therapy works for the bladder much the same way that a pacemaker works for the heart. One end of a lead (or thin wire) is implanted near your sacral nerves. These nerves are located near the tailbone and help control your bladder function. The other end of the lead is connected to a small neurostimulator. The neurostimulator generates mild electrical pulses that are carried to the sacral nerve by the lead. This helps the brain and the nerves to communicate so the bladder and related muscles can function properly.

During an initial evaluation period, the neurostimulator is worn externally on the waistband, like a pager. If the evaluation proves that InterStim Therapy is effective, the neurostimulator may be surgically placed inside the body in the upper buttock area.

Proven Safety and Effectiveness

InterStim Therapy may offer several benefits – fewer embarrassing leaks and no more waking many times during the night to urinate.  In a long-term clinical study by Medtronic, the manufacturer of the device, 59 percent of patients with urge incontinence reduced their leaks by half.

An evaluation process enables patients to determine if InterStim Therapy will work for them before making a long-term commitment. InterStim Therapy is also reversible. Treatment can be discontinued at any time by simply turning off or removing the device.

The InterStim Therapy system has risks similar to any surgical procedure, including swelling, bruising, bleeding, and infection. Some patients experience pain or irritation, changes in urinary or bowel function, or uncomfortable stimulation.

The MyMichigan Difference

  • Our board-certified urologists and gynecologists are specially trained in InterStim Therapy.
  • MyMichigan facilities are conveniently located in safe and friendly communities, with easy access and parking.

Is InterStim Therapy Right for You?

Although InterStim Therapy has helped more than 100,000 people since it received approval by the FDA in 1997, it is not right for every patient, including patients with urinary blockage. Only your health care provider can determine if the treatment is right for you.

Your Next Steps

For more information about InterStim Therapy, talk to your physician. For a physician referral, visit our Find a Doctor section, or call the MyMichigan Health Line at (989) 839-9090 or toll-free at (800) 999-3199.

InterStim® is a registered trademark of Medtronic, Inc.

Sue Myers discusses her experience with InterStim therapy

New Procedure Provides
Freedom After Forty
Years of Pain

Sue Myers

Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Hair Stylist, Farmer and InterStim Therapy Patient

Midland, Michigan

“I’m living normally now … It’s a huge relief to be free of the medicines and the side effects.”

Read Sue's Story