Loyola now offers a new procedure for patients with fecal incontinence called sacral nerve stimulation. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved this minimally invasive therapy for the treatment of chronic fecal incontinence in patients who have failed or are not candidates for more conservative treatments. This procedure also has been used for years at Loyola in patients with urinary urge incontinence.
The technology uses an implantable apparatus, consisting of a thin wire and a neurostimulator, or pacemakerlike device, to stimulate the nerves that control bowel function. This technology uses an external neurostimulator during a trial assessment period. If the device is effective, physicians implant a device that can be used indefinitely. This procedure is done in an outpatient setting under mild sedation. Patients return home the same day with minimal discomfort.
“Studies have shown that sacral nerve stimulation reduces incontinent episodes and increases quality of life in a majority of patients with chronic fecal incontinence," Dr. Hayden said. “These are dramatic, long-term results for patients who are dealing with chronic bowel control issues."