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New therapy provides hope for millions of people suffering from bowel incontinence
Date:7/18/2011

CHICAGO- A new procedure is now available for the treatment of chronic bowel incontinence, a disorder impacting the lives of more than 18 million Americans. 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 in the country to offer the procedure.

"Bowel control problems can have a significant, detrimental effect on a person's emotional well-being," said Anne-Marie Boller, MD, 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."

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. During the first phase, a thin wire is placed to stimulate the sacral nerve. This allows doctors to determine if the patient is likely to benefit from the therapy before moving forward with the full procedure. If the trial phase is successful, a long-term neurostimulator device, similar to a pacemaker, is then implanted in the buttock. The device has adjustable settings that can be tailored to the patient needs, and over time can be controlled by the patient using a programmer which works like a remote control. The final phase is follow-up monitoring.

"Until now, few treatments have been successful in treating bowel incontinence," said Amy Halverson, MD, a colon rectal surgeon at Northwestern Memorial. "This is an exciting new
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Contact: Angela Salerno
asalerno@nmh.org
312-926-8327
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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