Principles of the Procedure
This procedure is performed in patients with proven bladder overactivity and urge incontinence, patients with underactive bladders with incomplete emptying and certain cases of interstitial cystitis / painful bladder syndrome. A small electrode wire is placed alongside the nerves supplying the bladder. This is then stimulated with a very low current which has the effect of reconfiguring the neural pathways from the brain to the bladder. It is somewhat like a pacemaker for the bladder.
This is a two step procedure, spaced usually, one week apart. The procedures are performed under general anaesthetic or sedation. The first procedure is the trial implant, where a small lead exits the skin to a controller. If there is a clear improvement of your symptoms with the trial, the permanent neuromodulator is inserted the following week.
On both days you will be admitted on the day of the procedure and be fasted 6 hours prior. You should continue to take all of your usual medications. Your urologist will inform you if you need to adjust any anticoagulant (blood thinning) medications prior to the procedure.
Expected Post-Operative Recovery
You will be able to go home on the same day with the 1st stage and will stay overnight on the 2nd stage of the procedure. A course of antibiotics will be prescribed to take for the week in between. A very slight buzzing sensation can be sometimes felt in the perineum (between the legs), though this is not always the case. It is not painful.
Risks - as per your discussion with your Urologist
Discomfort at the stimulator site
Lack of desired effect