InterStim Bowel Control Therapy

Fecal Incontinence

What Is Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy?

Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy (Sacral Neuromodulation delivered through the InterStim® System) is a proven treatment option that targets the communication problem between the brain and the sacral nerves. These nerves help control the muscles related to bowel function. If the brain and sacral nerves don’t communicate correctly, bowels will not function properly. This can lead to symptoms of bowel incontinence. Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy targets these symptoms by modulating the sacral nerves with mild electrical pulses.

Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy may help you resume normal activities and help you avoid frustating experiences associated with bowel incontinence.

Test It Out
You can try Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy during an evaluation to find out whether it will work for you before making a long-term commitment. For the evaluation, a thin wire is inserted in your upper buttock and attached to a small external device that you can wear discreetly under your clothing. During the evaluation, which lasts several days, you still have the freedom to do most of your regular daily activities.

Complications can occur with the evaluation, including movement of the wire, technical problems with the device, and some temporary pain. Your doctor or nurse will provide you with information regarding how to operate the test device, and inform you of other precautions related to the evaluation and activity restrictions.

With the long-term therapy, a flexible wire (also known as a “lead” and pronounced “leed”) and a neurostimulator are implanted under the skin during a minimally invasive outpatient procedure.

When to Consider Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy

Finding relief from the loss of bowel control can be a long journey. The graphic below shows an overview of treatment options for bowel incontinence. If you don’t have success with one treatment, don’t give up! Work with your doctor to try another option.

Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy, delivered through the InterStim® System, may be an option if you have chronic bowel control problems and have not had success with, or are not a candidate for, more conservative treatments. If your bowel control problem has become bothersome and is getting in the way of your active lifestyle, talk with your doctor about whether the InterStim System is right for you.

Tools for Helping Your Doctor Understand Your Condition

Keep a log of your symptoms, including how often you have bowel movements and leaks. Capture this information with the symptom tracker on and bring the symptom tracker to your next doctor visit so you can have a candid discussion about treatment options.

Benefits and Risks – Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy

If you’ve tried other treatments without success, Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy (Sacral Neuromodulation delivered through the InterStim® System) may provide you relief from chronic bowel incontinence.


Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy is a reversible treatment option that can be discontinued at any time by turning off or removing the device. Many people with Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy have reported:

Significantly improved quality of life
Proven control to stop or greatly reduce accidents
Studies of patients followed for one year found that seven out of every 10 patients experienced at least a 50% reduction in weekly accidents compared with accidents before starting Medtronic therapy.1


As you consider the possible benefits, you should also explore the risks. The InterStim System has risks similar to any surgical procedure, including swelling, bruising, and bleeding. Complications can include pain at the implant site, new pain, infection, lead (thin wire) movement, technical or device problems, undesirable changes in urinary or bowel function, and uncomfortable stimulation. Any of these situations may require additional surgery or cause your symptoms to return. Always discuss the potential risks and benefits of the therapy with your doctor.

In most cases, these issues can be resolved, so talk to your doctor about your experience. (See Important Safety Information for possible adverse events.) This therapy is not for everyone. Please consult your doctor. A prescription is required.

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