Urinary Retention Treatment by Sacral Nerve Neurostimulation

Hospital da Luz Arrábida offers now treatment for non-obstructive urinary retention by sacral neurostimulation. The treatment involves the percutaneous insertion of a small device in the sacral area (lower part of the spine) of the patient. The first device was installed last March 29, at Hospital da Luz Arrábida, in a joint intervention of teams from the Urology Service and the Unit of Pain Treatment.

This was the case of a female patient suffering from non-obstructive urinary retention (that is, with no urge to urinate), requiring catheterization to empty the bladder for one year now. After examination of the possible causes of the pathology, and exclusion of organic conditions, neurostimulation of the sacral area was decided, to evaluate its efficacy in this particular patient.

After three weeks of testing and observing an improvement in the clinical condition, with the patient recovering spontaneously the urge to urinate, the insertion of a definitive implant was decided.

Sacral nerve neurostimulation consists in the insertion of an electrode at sacral spinal nerve 3. The electrode emits mild electrical impulses that prompt the information modulation at the central nervous system. The insertion is made percutaneously, requiring only local anaesthesia. Besides non-obstructive urinary retention, this technique can be used to treat other pathologies, such as hyperactive bladder, urinary incontinence, faecal incontinence and chronic pelvic pain.