Overactive bladder (OAB) syndrome affects more than 37 million people in the U.S. to some degree. Some estimate the cost to the country’s healthcare system in the range of $60 billion every year. StimGuard is a company that has developed a novel treatment for the condition, and the FDA recently approved an “investigational device exemption” (IDE) so that it can be tested in clinical trials.
The device is a tiny wireless implant that delivers a pulses of electricity to stimulate the tibial nerve. This is a large nerve in the lower leg, and a branch off the sciatic nerve. The stimulation has been shown to be an effective means to control bladder functions. An external controller transmits energy to the device to provide treatment. The device is implanted using a needle, guided by ultrasound imaging. The manufacturer hopes that this will prove to be a long-term treatment option for patients with OAB symptoms. Ultimately, the device could be injected on an outpatient basis in a physician’s office.
This simple solution could be a low-cost and effective treatment for patients with incontinence.