Living With InterStim® Therapy

Patient with device

After your Medtronic InterStim neurostimulator has been implanted, and the surgical cuts are healed, you will be able to resume your regular activities. People with a Medtronic InterStim neurostimulator have been able to do things they were not able to do before, such as go to restaurants, take long walks through the park, see films at the cinema or travel.

Daily living

Following your surgery to implant the neurostimulator, you may experience some discomfort. But you will soon resume your regular activities and start enjoying freedom from your bladder and/or bowel symptoms. It is important to continue to be aware of what is happening with your stimulator and symptoms and stay in touch with your doctor about any questions or concerns.

You will be given an InterStim hand-held patient programmer and an identification card after your short, minimally-invasive surgery. Although you will usually not use the patient programmer, it allows you to adjust the level of the stimulation and to turn your InterStim neurostimulator on or off.

Medical procedures and equipment

It is a good idea to carry your InterStim identification card with you at all times and show it to medical staff before you undergo tests or treatments. Most procedures and equipment will not affect or be affected by your neurostimulator. But caution is needed with some equipment, such as magnetic resonance imaging, monitors and diathermy equipment.

Antitheft devices

You should also let airport security staff know about your device to avoid possible problems with airport screening systems. Airport screening systems or theft detectors in public department stores or banks can cause the neurostimulator to turn off or on. If this happens, don’t worry. It does not change your stimulation settings. Simply use your patient programmer to switch your neurostimulator back on again. If you know you will need to pass through one of these devices, it’s a good idea to switch off the neurostimulator before going through and turn it back on afterwards.

Getting a Replacement

After several years, the neurostimulator battery will run down, causing the electrical stimulation to change and become less effective. Your symptoms may then reappear, but this is normal and there is no need to worry. You should consult your doctor as soon as you feel a change in the stimulation (less or more intense, or different). Your doctor will check the battery and may decide to replace the neurostimulator. Your patient programmer will also warn you if the neurostimulator battery is low. 

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 25 Mar 2013

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