Sacral Neuromodulation Therapy (SNT) is a surgical therapy designed to help women with symptoms of overactive bladder, urinary retention, and fecal incontinence. These symptoms often develop when there is a miscommunication between the brain and the sacral nerves that control the bladder and bowels. SNT targets the nerves that control the bladder or bowels to help them function normally again. Many women choose this therapy after they have tried and failed more conservatives therapies such as behavioral changes, medications, or pelvic floor physical therapy.
Who is a good candidate?
- Women who have overactive bladder (urinary frequency, urgency, urge leakage) or bladder emptying problems (not due to outlet obstruction) or leakage of stool
- Women who receive diathermy therapy WOULD NOT be good candidates.There are some limitations with certain MRIs
What is involved?
- The surgery is a two step process. The first stage is the test phase to determine if the therapy will be helpful. - During the first stage, the patient will have small leads extending into their back that will be attached to an external stimulator. - The first stage (test stage) typically lasts 2-3 weeks. This allows the patient to see whether or not her urinary or fecal incontinence improves. - If symptoms improve by at least 50%, then the permanent stimulator is implanted. This is considered Stage 2. During stage 2, a small incision is made in the back and the stimulator is implanted below the skin. It is attached to a soft wire that extends near the tailbone. - The patient will have a hand held programmer that controls the stimulation.
What are the possible risks?
- Similar to the risk of any surgery, there may be problems with swelling, bruising, bleeding, and infection
What does it feel like?
- Most women describe a pulling, tingling, or fluttering sensation in the pelvic area. These sensations should not be painful.
How long does this last?
- Typically 5 years but may last more or less depending on usage
- You will have ongoing follow ups and guidance from our office to help make this therapy successful!