EYE ON HEALTH: Sacral Nerve Stimulator
Debby Lehigh says "Obviously it's a rather embarrassing problem, and you don't want to even talk about it with your doctor."
But she had to after things got worse. Debby is one of millions of people who suffer from incontinence.
But now improved technology for this device, the Sacral Nerve Stimulator, has given Debby a much better quality of life.
Dr. Shauna Lorenzo Rivero says "This is a programmable device, so if you think about it as your own personal IPOD, you are going to customize your progress.
A neurotransmitter device, is implanted under the skin in the upper buttock area. It transmits mild electrical impulses which help provide bladder control.
Debby Lehigh says "I avoided social situations because I never knew when I was going to have a problem with that."
Debby says her condition was so severe, she had to take early retirement from her job, But now things have changed for the better.
Dr. Rivero says this non-invasive outpatient procedure normally takes about an hour, the most time consuming part is finding the correct program to fit the patient's condition.
Dr. Shauna Lorenzo Rivero says "The information we have now is I have a much better idea of what is going to work well for somebody, so hopefully it will only take one or two times to find the right program rather than eight times."
Dr. Rivero says this device is just like a pacemaker or a stimulator for someone with urinary or fecal incontinence.
There may be some side effects like infection or allergic reaction at the surgical site, and patients have to remember this isn't permanent, the battery typically needs to be replaced every 3 to 5 years. For Debby it is well worth it.
Debby Lehigh says "it's unbelievably wonderful, it's amazing."