A novel therapy to cure chronic bowel incontinence offers hope to millions of people.
The treatment called InterStim Therapy, is a minimally invasive procedure, which uses electrical impulses to stimulate the sacral nerve and improve muscle function. It is one of the only effective long-term treatments for bowel incontinence available to patients and Northwestern Memorial Hospital is one of the first medical centers to offer the procedure.
"Bowel control problems can have a significant, detrimental effect on a person's emotional well-being," said Anne-Marie Boller, a colon rectal surgeon at Northwestern Memorial.
"Patients often struggle with everyday activities and withdraw from social interactions due to embarrassment or fear, causing them to suffer in silence. This treatment is a tremendous advancement that has the potential to improve patients' bowel control and their quality of life," added Boller.
InterStim Therapy has been shown to reduce or eliminate bowel incontinence in 80 percent of patients according to recent studies. The treatment involves three steps: test stimulation, surgical implant and post-implant follow up.
"Until now, few treatments have been successful in treating bowel incontinence," said Amy Halverson, a colon rectal surgeon at Northwestern Memorial.
"This is an exciting new option that will give many patients their freedom back by eliminating symptoms. We are excited to be able to offer this to patients," added Halverson.