Sacral Neuromodulation Therapy for Incontinence with MS

Urinary and bowel incontinence is a serious problem that affects many older adults. It can also be an issue for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). MS damages the nerves, which send messages to your bladder or bowel muscles. As a result, it becomes harder to control them.

Sacral neuromodulation (SNM) therapy involves implanting a device that sends electrical pulses to your nerves. They help restore communication between your nerves and your brain. This helps control bladder and bowel movement.

Exploring SNM therapy nuances can help you understand whether this treatment is suitable for your condition.

What Is Sacral Neuromodulation Therapy?

The sacral nerves transmit sensory information from your pelvic organs to the brain and back. They help regulate bladder and bowel function, including storage and elimination of waste. When the sacral nerves sustain damage due to multiple sclerosis, they stop working properly.

Sacral neuromodulation therapy involves implanting a special device that adjusts impulses in sacral nerves. The implant consists of three parts:

  • A pulse generator: a device similar to a pacemaker, which is implanted under your skin in the upper buttocks or lower back area.
  • Leads: thin wires that carry electrical impulses from the pulse generator to the sacral nerves.
  • Remote: a small remote you can use to adjust how much stimulation the pulse generator is providing.

Before undergoing sacral neuromodulation therapy, you would have to go through a trial period. During this period, the surgeon inserts a temporary lead to check whether the treatment works for you. If the trial is successful, you can install a permanent sacral neuromodulation implant.

Sacral modulation therapy has a high success rate for people who live with MS. Studies demonstrate that 80% of the patients experience significant improvements.

However, not all MS patients with incontinence are suitable candidates for the procedure. You need to consult your healthcare provider to find out if this option is right for you.

Sacral Neuromodulation Surgery 

If the trial phase of the SNM therapy is successful, you can undergo surgical implantation. The procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia. The steps include:

  • Making a small incision in the upper buttocks or lower back area to implant the neuromodulation device
  • Placing the lead wires next to the sacral nerves, which are located at the base of the spine

Once the device is implanted, the surgeon tests it to make sure it’s functioning properly. They also program the implant to deliver the appropriate level of stimulation.

The impanation surgery, which lasts around 30 minutes, is done on an outpatient basis. The majority of patients return to normal activities in a few days.

What Is Axonics Sacral Neuromodulation Therapy?

Axonics sacral neuromodulation therapy is a type of sacral neuromodulation therapy that involves implanting a pulse generator created by Axonics Modulation Technologies.

One of the notable features of the Axonics system is its long-lived rechargeable battery. This battery, which you need to recharge once a month, can last up to 15 years. This reduces the need for frequent replacement surgeries.

Another popular sacral neuromodulation implant is the InterStim implant. Unlike the Axonics implant, it doesn’t require recharging. However, you need to replace it every five years.

If you are a good candidate for sacral neuromodulation therapy, your healthcare provider can help you choose the most suitable implant for your needs.  

Battling Your Incontinence Problems with Sacral Neuromodulation Therapy 

If you live with MS and have urinary or fecal incontinence that doesn’t respond to conservative treatment, you might benefit from SNM therapy.

At Incontinence Institute, we have a team of surgeons and therapists with extensive experience in implanting different types of sacral neuromodulation devices. Our goal is to improve your quality of life.

To learn whether you are a good candidate for the procedure, schedule an appointment with our medical team today.

About The Incontinence Institute

At the Incontinence Institute, our team of healthcare providers understand the physical and mental trials that accompany living with urinary or bowel incontinence. Because of this, we are sensitive to your situation and treat all of our patients with the utmost respect and concern for discretion.


Individual incontinence conditions, treatment and recovery times may vary. Each patient's experience with incontinence procedures and / or surgery will differ. All surgical procedures involve some level of risk. If directed to pursue surgery by your physician, prompt action is advised, as waiting may reduce the efficacy of surgical treatment. The opinions expressed in patient testimonials are by patients only; they are not qualified medical professionals. These opinions should not be relied upon as, or in place of, the medical advice of a licensed doctor, etc.

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Incontinence Institute 2009 Mallory Lane, Suite 100 Franklin, Tennessee 37067

1.888.741.6403

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