The therapy uses a small implanted medical device to send mild electrical pulses to a nerve located just above the tail bone. These nerves are called sacral nerves. The sacral nerves—specifically S2, S3 and S4—activate or inhibit muscles and organs that contribute to urinary control: the bladder, sphincter and pelvic floor muscles. The electrical stimulation may eliminate or reduce certain bladder control functions in some people. This stimulation may facilitate the communication between the brain and bladder, and may relieve the symptoms of urinary retention or symptoms of overactive bladder, including urinary urge incontinence and significant symptoms of urgency-frequency in some patients.
Prior to your surgery you should be given a Patient Therapy Guide. Read this prior to your surgery so any final questions can be answered.
What to expect after surgery?
- You should be able to go home the same day of the procedure.
- After your procedure you will be given instructions on how to use your InterStim iCon programmer.
- Your incision may be sore and painful for the first two weeks.
- On the day after surgery it is very important to get out of bed and begin walking. This will help prevent
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Please follow the DVT prevention handout.
- Your bowels may be sluggish after surgery and pain medication can increase constipation. Follow the postoperative bowel program handout.
- You may have steri strips over your incisions and these will fall off in 5-7 days.
- You may shower when you go home, but do not bathe or sit in a hot tub for 4 to 6 weeks.
- Use your pain medication as directed if needed. If pain is mild you can use acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Activity and postoperative restrictions
- Walking and light exercise is important in prevent DVT.
- You should expect to return to work within the first week.
- You should reduce your activity levels for the first week while healing.
- Use stairs gently for the first week.
- No heavy lifting, pulling or pushing over 15 pounds for 3 to 4 weeks while your incision is healing.
- No strenuous exercising for 3 to 4 weeks.
- No yoga, extreme stretching, excessive bending, twisting or bouncing.
- No deep tissue massage over InterStim site.
- No sexual intercourse for 1 to 2 weeks.
- Do not have shortwave diathermy.
- Do not have MRIs.
- Do not drive for the first weeks. Do not drive while taking narcotics.
- You should resume your pre-surgery medication unless told otherwise.
- Do not take any aspirin products for the first two weeks.
- If you are taking Warfrin or Plavix follow-up with your primary care provider postoperatively. They will discuss with you when to resume medication and dosing recommendations.
- If you are taking pain medication or iron supplements you should also be taking a stool softener to keep the stool soft.
- If your pain is mild you can stop taking the pain medication and switch to acetaminophen.
Medications and items to have at home before surgery
- Stool softener
- Milk of Magnesia
- Frozen peas or ice packs
You may return to your normal diet. You may want to avoid acidic foods and drinks that may cause burning with urination. Drinks with caffeine may cause frequency and irritation to your bladder. If you’re not on a sugar or salt restriction diet, drink 8 to 10 glasses of water and Gatorade daily to avoid constipation and to prevent possible urinary tract infections.
- Fever over 101 Fahrenheit by mouth
- Pain not relieved by medication
- Rash, itching after taking pain medication
- Continued nausea and vomiting
- Abnormal swelling around operative site
- Increased redness, warmth, hardness around operative site
- Excessive draining or bleeding from operative site
- Inability to urinate
- Swelling of the calf, ankle or foot
- Increased warmth of the leg
- Pain in the leg
- Bluish discoloration of the skin or leg
You will need a follow-up appointment to monitor your progress postoperatively in 2 to 3 weeks. You will be called for a postoperative follow-up 1 to 2 days after surgery. You can make your postoperative appointment at that time or by calling and speaking to a receptionist. If you are having difficulty using your iCon device please watch the DVD ‘Using Your iCon Programmer’. It will give you step-by-step instructions on how to use the device. If you are still having difficulty, please call and schedule an appointment for further instructions on how to use the device.