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How does sacral nerve stimulation treat overactive bladder?

Ja-Hong Kim, MD
Urology
Sacral neuromodulation is a treatment for overactive bladder. This process involves the stimulation of the sacral nerves to modulate the neural reflexes that influence the bladder, sphincter and pelvic floor. It is done in two stages under light sedation and local anesthesia.

People interested in this option must have good cognitive function, as they must learn how to use the device. People with overactive bladder have over 70% improvement and partial success. However, the pacemaker is battery operated and must be replaced every three to five years, though it is easily replaced in a doctor’s office. It is important to realize that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) cannot be performed after this procedure due to the metal in the body.

Some side effects would be a wound infection, and 3% to 16% of people would need revision. Contradictions for people looking at this solution would be the need for an MRI, unstable neurogenic conditions, certain types of cardiac pacemakers and a lack of cognitive function.
 
Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
During sacral nerve stimulation, an implant is surgically placed under the skin of your upper buttocks or abdomen. Mild electric pulses, like those of a heart pacemaker, stimulate the sacral nerve in the lower back to help control bladder function.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.