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Axonics for Your Bladder and Bowel: What to Expect

Axonics for Your Bladder and Bowel: What to Expect

Problems that affect your urinary bladder and bowel can lead to awkward moments that are embarrassing and difficult to deal with. Overactive bladder, or OAB, is when a bladder problem causes a sudden urge to urinate. Accidental Bowel Leakage, or ABL, is when a bowel problem causes leakage of stool with or without urgency. 

Symptoms include frequent urination and involuntary leakage. In the United States, 40% of women deal with OAB, and many struggle with finding treatment.

At BostonUrogyn in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Dr. Neeraj Kohli and his experienced team provide expert diagnosis and treatment of overactive bladder and accidental bowel leakage. BostonUrogyn is designated an Axonics National Center of Excellence with over 600 sacral neuromodulation implants over the last 15 years and success rates well above the national average. 

Here, they discuss Axonics® Therapy, a next-generation treatment that helps patients manage urinary conditions, including OAB.

What is Axonics Therapy?

Sacral nerve stimulation, or sacral neuromodulation, uses a device to electrically stimulate the nerves in your bladder to restore function. It’s placed near the sacrum (the section of your pelvis beneath your spine) and is designed to treat many conditions, such as OAB. 

Standard stimulators last up to five years before the battery (or lead) needs to be replaced, which requires follow-up visits.

Axonics Therapy is the next step in sacral nerve stimulation. It uses a smaller, thinner device that works for 15-20 years, depending on the model, and is rechargeable. In addition, this device allows you to undergo MRI scans, which you can’t do with other sacral nerve stimulators.

How does Axonics Therapy treat overactive bladder and accidental bowel leakage?

The electrical stimulation created by the device inhibits signals between your bladder/bowel, spinal cord, and brain. 

Since OAB results from your bladder muscles and ABL results from your sphincter muscles not working properly, inhibiting signals can help improve communication and restore bladder/bowel control. The result: reduced symptoms, fewer embarrassing situations, and improved quality of life.

How does the procedure work?

To determine if Axonics Therapy is best for you, you undergo a trial period that involves an external device with a lead connected to your sacral nerve. You use the temporary system for up to 7-14 days to determine its effectiveness to treat OAB or ABL before a permanent one is placed. Some patients may qualify for a simpler and faster in office trial stimulation for 3-4 days.

If Dr. Kohli determines that the device effectively addresses your OAB or ABL symptoms, a permanent implant is placed under your skin on the upper part of your buttock near your sacrum.

The device is implanted under the skin using local or general anesthesia; the process can take up to 30 minutes. Recovery times vary, but people generally return to normal activities within three weeks (with lighter activity possible within a few days). 

You may feel a pulling or tingling sensation shortly after receiving the implant, but it should pass within a few weeks.

The device is entirely reversible and removable if needed and covered by insurance. 

This FDA-approved device enjoys a 94% satisfaction rate among people who’ve had it implanted. So if you’re dealing with an overactive bladder, accidental bowel lekage,or other urinary or bowel related problems, make an appointment with Dr. Kohli and BostonUrogyn to see what Axonics Therapy can do for you. More information also available at: Axonics Bladder Therapy and Axonics Bowel Therapy.

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