InterStim Therapy

InterStim Therapy

WomanCare Clinic

Meriter WomanCare Clinic
20 S. Park Street, Suite 450
Madison, WI 53715
Telephone: (608) 417-5433 or 1-888-409-3852

UW Health - OB/GYN
20 S. Park Street, Suite 307
Madison, WI 53715
Telephone: (608) 287-2830

For more information about InterStim Therapy, please visit


InterStim Therapy is a surgical procedure that implants a device to stimulate the sacral nerve, which will help control bladder problems.

Alternative Name

  • Sacral Neuromodulation Therapy

InterStim Therapy is recommended for women who have:

  • Frequent urges to urinate
  • Inability to hold urine
  • Incomplete bladder emptying
  • Overactive bladder
  • Trouble sleeping due to bladder control issues
  • To use the bathroom more than seven times per day
  • No to little control over their bladder
  • Bladder pain

Benefits of the Procedure

  • Fewer urges to urinate
  • Better control over the bladder
  • More normal bladder functions
  • Improves urinary incontinence
  • Potentially improve bowel function

What is InterStim Therapy?

InterStim Therapy uses a surgically implanted device to stimulate the nerves that help control bladder issues. It is like a pacemaker for the bladder. It’s very important for women to understand that bladder control problems are common, but are not part of aging, and can be fixed with surgical or non-surgical treatment.

If non-surgical bladder treatments don't work, and the patient still experiences bladder control problems, then she might be a good candidate for InterStim Therapy. InterStim Therapy works by electrically stimulating the sacral nerve, located near the tailbone, which influences the bladder and surrounding muscles that manage urinary function. As the bladder stores urine, the pelvic floor muscles contract to support the bladder and to hold urine without leaking. The electrical stimulation may eliminate or reduce certain bladder control symptoms.

To perform the InterStim procedure, an incision is made in the woman’s lower back and a thin wire with a small electrode is placed near the sacral nerve that controls urinary function. A second small incision in made in the lower back, where the doctor will insert the neurostimulator under the skin. The neurostimulator is activated and sends mild electrical pulses through the thin wire to the sacral nerve.

The InterStim procedure is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. The stimulator typically runs for 5 to 10 years and then can be replaced if needed. InterStim Therapy is reversible and can be discontinued at any time.

Women who are at an increased risk:

  • Are going through menopause
  • Have an overactive bladder
  • Are elderly

Common Risks:

  • Pain at the implant site
  • Infection
  • Skin Irritation
  • Change in bowel
  • Undesirable Stimulation