Sacral neuromodulation (SNM) is a therapy system used to improve bladder function, including in people with overactive bladder (OAB). It is safe and can improve quality of life. SNM helps improve symptoms through direct modulation of nerve activity; it involves electrically stimulating the sacral nerves that carry signals between the pelvic floor, spinal cord and the brain and is thought to normalise neural communication between the bladder and brain. If patients with OAB do not respond to non-surgical and conservative options, minimally invasive procedures can be offered, including SNM. SNM is performed in two stages: the trial phase, to assess whether it would be effective in the long term; and permanent implantation. This year, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) released guidance on the Axonics SNM System® for treating refractory OAB. The Axonics System is rechargeable and lasts at least 15 years, minimising the need for repeat surgery. NICE suggests the Axonics System may have cost advantages for the NHS. Having more than one SNM therapy option available increases options for patients, offering them a choice of handsets and rechargeable versus non-rechargeable implants. Three case studies illustrate how the system works in practice.
British journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing). 2020 Oct 08 [Epub]
Urology Specialist Nurse, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.