One in 12 Americans are affected by bowel incontinence and the condition leaves many without the ability to live their everyday lives. But there is help. World-renowned colorectal surgeon Dr. Margarita Murphy of Gastrointestinal Surgical Specialists is one of the only practices in the Lowcountry to offer sacral neuromodulation, delivered by InterStim® Therapy, to manage chronic bowel incontinence symptoms. Dr. Murphy is ranked #2 in the country for State-of-The Art Treatment of Fecal (Bowel) Incontinence. This minimally invasive outpatient procedure – which is performed at Dr. Murphy’s endosurgery center at Gastrointestinal Surgical Specialists located at 1439 Stuart Engals Blvd., Ste 100 in Mount Pleasant- uses a neurostimulator, about the size of a stopwatch, is implanted under the skin in the upper buttock near the sacral nerves. The InterStim system then delivers mild electrical pulses to help stimulate these nerves, which help the brain and nerves to communicate so the bowel, pelvic floor and related muscles can function correctly.
The Medtronic InterStim system, which is manufactured by Medtronic, consists of a thin wire lead, a pacemaker-like implantable device called a neurostimulator, and external clinician and patient programmers. InterStim Therapy targets the miscommunication that may occur between the brain and sacral nerves that help to control bowel function. Individual results with this therapy may vary, and it is not for everyone.InterStim Therapy, the world’s first sacral neuromodulation therapy, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of urinary urge incontinence in 1997, (non-obstructive) urinary retention and urinary urgency-frequency in 1999 and chronic fecal incontinence in 2011. To date, more than 125,000 people have received InterStim Therapy worldwide.
Although often underreported, nearly 18 million Americans – about one in 121 – have bowel incontinence. Despite the socially devastating stigma and embarrassment associated with bowel incontinence, also known as fecal incontinence, it is often caused by an underlying medical problem and may be treatable. Dr. Murphy’s patients who have undergone this treatment are now speaking about this procedure and how it changed their lives for the better. No referrals are necessary unless required by insurance. While bowel incontinence is more common in adults, people of any age can have a bowel control problem. Bowel incontinence is slightly more common among women.
“Bowel incontinence can have a disabling effect on a person’s quality of life, and embarrassment often delays discussing the problem with a physician,” said Margarita Murphy M.D., Colorectal Surgeon, Gastrointestinal Surgical Specialists. “Sacral Neuromodulation delivered by the InterStim System, which is offered at our surgical center is a proven therapy that offers hope for relief and the possibility of living a more normal life.” Dr. Margarita Murphy was the only international guest speaker at a recent symposium in Mexico regarding her expertise on InterStim.
Some Facts about Bowel Incontinence
People of any age can have a bowel control problem, though fecal incontinence is more common in older adults and is slightly more common among women.
The prevalence of fecal incontinence in the U.S. ranges from 2.6 percent among adults 20 to 29 years old to 15.3 percent among adults 70 years of age and older.
Bowel incontinence is estimated to occur at least weekly in 2.7 percent of the U.S. population.
Loss of bowel control can have a devastating effect on a person’s quality of life. Shame, anxiety and humiliation are common. Some people with bowel incontinence don’t want to leave the house out of fear they might have an accident in public. Many try to hide the problem as long as possible, and withdraw from friends and family.
As a result of social stigma and poor self‐esteem, many people with bowel control problems are reluctant to seek medical attention. Social isolation resulting from bowel incontinence may be reduced with treatment that improves bowel control and makes incontinence easier to manage.
Important Safety Information
Sacral Neuromodulation for Bowel Control Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy (Sacral Neuromodulation delivered through the InterStim® System) treats chronic fecal incontinence (an accident or leaking involving stool). It should be used after patients have tried other treatments such as medications and dietary modifications and they have not worked, or if they are not candidates for them. Patients should have a successful evaluation before receiving Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy. Patients cannot have diathermy (deep heat treatment from electromagnetic energy) if they have an InterStim device. Safety and effectiveness have not been established for pregnancy and delivery; patients under the age of 18; or for patients with progressive, systemic neurological diseases. In addition to risks related to surgery, complications can include pain at the implant sites, new pain, infection, lead (thin wire) movement/migration, device problems, interactions with certain other devices or diagnostic equipment such as MRI, undesirable changes in urinary or bowel function, and uncomfortable stimulation (sometimes described as a jolting or shocking feeling).