First in Michigan to receive newly FDA-approved device to provide instant relief and last up to 15 years
These days, many people stay home to stay safe from the coronavirus. Heidi Wenzel has stayed home for the past six months for another reason: to urinate every 15 minutes — dozens and dozens of daily trips to the bathroom.
Wenzel, a nurse, could not work. No travel. Not even a simple trip to the grocery store. What she did all day, every day, is remain near a bathroom, think about her formerly active life and pray for a cure.
She lives in the historic small city of Monroe, near the Michigan-Ohio border. She attempted to seek care locally for overactive bladder, but she had no luck. She and her husband, Gary, widened their search and discovered a group of research urologists in the Metro Detroit area at the Beaumont Women’s Urology and Pelvic Health Center, a unique multidisciplinary center dedicated to women with chronic pelvic pain and voiding dysfunction. Each roundtrip was more than 100 miles, requiring seven or more bathroom stops.
“Dr. Kenneth Peters gave me salvation and rescued me from what had become a very limited life,” Wenzel said. “I missed being able to go kayaking on the River Raisin, taking our road trips to the Upper Peninsula to visit our son and playing English bells in the church choir.”
Back in 2017, Dr. Peters surgically placed a small pacemaker-like electrode, called an InterStim device, adjacent to Wenzel’s spinal cord that stimulated the sacral nerve and helped control her bladder. It was instant relief and lasted for a couple years, until it failed in February. Wenzel’s bladder required a high level of stimulation, causing her battery to fail much earlier than it does for most patients.
She waited and prayed six months for the FDA to approve the new InterStim Micro from Medtronic. On Tuesday, Wenzel became the first person in Michigan — and one of the first in the U.S. — to receive this revised device. The immediate relief has Wenzel excited about life again.
“I want to mark my new freedom by learning how to skydive,” confessed Wenzel, who turned 48 just two days before her surgery. “And, I can’t wait to enjoy doing my normal activities, too.”
Her new device is MRI compatible should she ever need one, has a tiny implantable and rechargeable generator and a 15-year battery life.
“Helping people with overactive bladder like Heidi is why my research partners and I have worked for so many years on neuromodulation, or nerve stimulation, therapy,” said Dr. Peters. “People from all over the country come to our clinic for help. The device is also an effective treatment for people who have urinary or fecal incontinence.”
Dr. Peters chairs the Department of Urology at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, which has again achieved a national ranking in urology from U.S. News & World Report.
He is professor and chair of Urology at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and is listed among HOUR Detroit’s 2019 Top Docs for urology. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and is internationally known for his work on neuromodulation and pelvic pain.