Bladder Pacemaker

By: Stacy McCloud Email
By: Stacy McCloud Email

The hotel business keeps Sharon Crow hopping, "It's always busy," says Crow.

So you can imagine how inconvenient it would be to have to worry about leaking urine during the workday.
"It's embarrassing and it wouldn't just be that I'd mess my clothes up. There would be this little trail," says Crow.

You see, Sharon has what's called bladder retention that causes incontinence. Urine builds up in her bladder because the nerves were damaged during a surgery 15 years ago. She can't feel when she has to go until it's too late, "It was stifling my lifestyle and making me stressed out," explains Crow.

Frustrated, she went to mayo clinic to see Dr. Jeffrey Cornella who told her that her best option may be something called Neuro Modulation. "Basically, it's a pace maker for the bladder," explains Dr. Cornella.

To implant the device Dr. Cornella places it near the pelvic bone. He then runs a wire to where the bladder nerves are located. When turned on, electronic pulses stimulate the nerves and allow the bladder to work more normally.

"There have been examples of patients who we have operated on who have not voiced for years and within a day they will be able to empty their bladder after placing a stimulating device," says Crow.

For the first time in 15 years, Sharon says she feels normal. "I don't have to worry about accidents anymore. Normal, that's the only thing I can tell you, just normal."

Dr. Cornella says the device has been FDA approved for use in three types of incontinence and works for about 70 percent of patients.

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