Step 1: Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy Evaluation

If you've tried several treatments for bladder control problems without success, don't lose hope. There is no single bladder control treatment that works for everyone, and sometimes it takes time to find the one that works for you. Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy (Sacral Neuromodulation), delivered by the InterStim® System, may be an option for you.

InterStim Bladder External Illustration

With the therapy's two-step process, you can test it out to see if it will work for you before making a long-term commitment. The testing period is called an "evaluation" or a "trial assessment."

Your doctor will discuss the evaluation procedure with you and the options for using either a temporary lead (a thin wire) or long-term lead for the evaluation.

How Will I Know If InterStim Therapy Works for Me?

You and your doctor will decide together whether your evaluation was successful. The evaluation is considered a success if you experience a significant reduction in your symptoms.

For example, your evaluation may be considered a success if you went to the bathroom 20 times per day before the evaluation and went 10 or fewer times per day during the evaluation.

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DR. STEVEN SIEGEL

Urologist, Woodbury, Minn.

"You haven't really lost anything if it doesn't seem to improve your symptoms."

What Happens During the Evaluation?

The evaluation starts with a short, minimally invasive outpatient procedure that can be done in your doctor's office or an outpatient center. It usually takes about 20 minutes.

For the basic evaluation, which uses a temporary lead, your doctor will numb a small area of your upper buttock and insert a thin wire near your sacral nerves, located near the tailbone. The advanced evaluation uses a long-term lead that is fully implanted; one end of the lead is inserted near your sacral nerves. With both types of evaluations, the lead is connected to a small, external neurostimulator that you'll wear on your waistband like a pager. The stimulator generates mild electrical pulses that are carried to the sacral nerve by the lead.

The length of the evaluation may vary among doctors and depends on the type of evaluation you undergo. Generally, if the temporary lead is used, the evaluation period lasts from 3 to 7 days; if the long-term lead is used, the evaluation period may last up to 14 days. 

During the evaluation, you still have the freedom to do most of your regular daily activities. The treatment can be stopped, started, and adjusted using a controller. It's designed to be easy to use; your doctor or nurse can show you how.

Complications can occur during the evaluation, including movement of the wire, technical problems with the device, and some temporary pain. In most cases, these issues can be resolved, so talk to your doctor about your experience.(See Important Safety Information for possible adverse events.) Your doctor or nurse will provide you with information regarding how to operate the test device and also inform you of other precautions related to the evaluation and activity restrictions.

During the evaluation, you will need to use a symptom tracker to write down your urinary symptoms, such as how many times you go to the bathroom and whether you have leaks. You should be able to work and continue your normal activities, as long as you avoid lifting, bending or twisting movements. If you experience a significant reduction in your symptoms, you and your doctor can discuss long-term Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy.

Learn more about long-term Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy

What Support Is Available During the Evaluation?

Your doctor will be your primary source for support and information during the InterStim Therapy evaluation. In addition, for support before and during the evaluation, Medtronic offers a website specifically for people going through the evaluation. Once you have a procedure date, you can register for access to the site to view information that will be helpful as you prepare for and undergo the evaluation.

Already have your evaluation procedure date? Register now

Next: Step 2: Long-term Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy

Last updated: 7 May 2014