InterStim treatment for overactive bladder has low rate of serious complications, according to new study

Posted by David J. Cahn, MD on September 28, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Study shows lower rate of adverse effects from interStim therapy for overactive bladderHave you been considering InterStim therapy to treat your overactive bladder but you are worried about complications from the device or the surgery? In a new study looking at 272 patients who received InterStim therapy for overactive bladder, the rate of adverse effects (AE) was much lower than in past studies.

The study found that 30 percent of patients had some level of adverse effects, but just one had a complication considered serious. The most common side effects were an undesirable change in stimulation and device site pain, most of which occurred in the first three months after surgery.

“Although a 30% AE rate was reported, most AEs were minor and were resolved without surgical intervention. Surgical intervention was required in 13% of subjects, with the majority being revision or replacement,” the investigators concluded. (This study, called the InSite trial, is funded by Medtronic, the manufacturer of InterStim.) You can read the study here.

InterStim is a small surgically implanted device that uses mild electrical impulses delivered to the sacral nerves -- which control bladder and bowel function – to relieve overactive bladder symptoms. InterStim is an option for patients whose overactive bladder symptoms are not well controlled with medication or other therapies, or who can’t tolerate the side effects of medications. The device is implanted in a minimally invasive outpatient procedure, and patients typically go home the same day. The device starts working immediately, says Dr. David Cahn, MD, a urology surgeon with Foothills Urology.

To learn more about Interstim therapy, read these blog posts from our archives:



Dr._Cahn.jpgDavid J. Cahn, MD, a board-certified urologist, specializes in diagnosing and treating complex urological conditions, including all types of voiding dysfunctions such as overactive bladder.  Dr. Cahn is one Colorado’s most experienced minimally invasive surgeons treating overactive bladder, and was among the first in the region to utilize InterStim technology. Dr. Cahn also specializes in advanced prostate cancer. He founded Foothills Urology in 2000 with the goal of providing state-of-the-art treatment in a small, personalized practice. Foothills Urology has since grown to become one of the region’s leading urology practices.


Tags: Overactive Bladder, InterStim therapy, Sacral nerve stimulation, Neuromodulation

David J. Cahn, MD