Electrical stimulation for the treatment of bladder dysfunction: current status and future possibilities.
Electrical stimulation of peripheral nerves can be used to cause muscle contraction, to activate reflexes, and to modulate some functions of the central nervous system (neuromodulation). If applied to the spinal cord or nerves controlling the lower urinary tract, electrical stimulation can produce bladder or sphincter contraction, produce micturition, and can be applied as a medical treatment in cases of incontinence and urinary retention. This article first reviews the history of electrical stimulation applied for treatment of bladder dysfunction and then focuses on the implantable Finetech-Brindley stimulator to produce bladder emptying, and on external and implantable neuromodulation systems for treatment of incontinence. We conclude by summarizing some recent research efforts including: (a) combined sacral posterior and anterior sacral root stimulator implant (SPARSI), (b) selective stimulation of nerve fibers for selective detrusor activation by sacral ventral root stimulation, (c) microstimulation of the spinal cord, and (d) a newly proposed closed-loop bladder neuroprosthesis to treat incontinence caused by bladder overactivity.
Jezernik, S; Craggs, M; Grill, WM; Creasey, G; Rijkhoff, NJM
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