Pudendal neuromodulation is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure in which a small lead with 4 electrodes is placed at the pudendal nerve in the pelvis. The pudendal nerve innervates the bladder, urethra, vagina, rectum, clitoris and the pelvic floor muscles. Dysfunction of the nerve can lead to pelvic/rectal pain, urinary/bowel dysfunction and sexual dysfunction. The pudendal nerve can be damaged by childbirth, traumatic injury, compression (bike riding) along with other reasons. The purpose of neuromodulation is to override abnormal signals being sent to the brain that causes these bothersome symptoms. The benefit of pudendal neuromodulation is it can be tested outside the body with a temporary stimulator, before deciding to implant a permanent device.
How does pudendal neuromodulation work?
Experts believe neuromodulation works by affecting central processing in the brain and correcting signals being sent through the nerves to the pelvic organs. It’s these signals that can lead to the underlying complications and symptoms of pelvic pain and urinary or bowel issues.
What happens during treatment?
Most patients undergo two procedures during the treatment process. The first is a 1-2 week trial to be certain the technology provides a meaningful improvement in symptoms. Under light sedation, a small lead is placed at the pudendal nerve through a tiny skin nick. These electrodes are connected to an external stimulator that is worn outside the body. This allows you to test drive the treatment for two weeks, measuring its impact on your symptoms. If you see significant improvement, you will undergo a second procedure where a small receiver is implanted in the upper buttock. Depending on the technology used, there will either be an implanted battery the delivers continuous stimulation or an external antenna that transmits energy to the lead through the skin.
What is the goal of pudendal neuromodulation?
The goal of pudendal neuromodulation is to override abnormal signals coming from the pudendal nerve and send a signal that the brain needs to improve pelvic pain and bladder and bowel function.
What happens after the procedure?
Pudendal neuromodulation is not a cure for pelvic pain, incontinence or bowel dysfunction, however; the procedure is successful about 85 percent of the time in achieving at least a 50 percent improvement in symptoms. Some experience an 80 to 90 percent improvement.
Beaumont – Pioneering Treatments
Beaumont urologist Kenneth M. Peters, M.D. pioneered pudendal neuromodulation. Dr. Peters and his colleagues at Beaumont's Women's Urology and Pelvic Health Center have performed the procedure on greater than 200 patients – which is more than anyone else in the world. Dr. Peters' research on pudendal neuromodulation has been published in several urology journals and he trains doctors from around the world to perform this technique.
Contact Beaumont Women’s Urology and Pelvic Health Center or call 800-633-7377 today to find out whether pudendal neuromodulation might be right for you or to get a referral to a physician who can perform the procedure.