CONTACT: TOM MOORE
8788 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: Feb. 23, 2000
FDA approves new UI treatment for urinary incontinence
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Technology studied by University of Iowa Health Care
specialists in the UI Department of Urology for the treatment of urinary incontinence
has received approval for use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration.
The technology represents a new approach to the treatment of incontinence.
It's called the Percutaneous Stoller Afferent Nerve Stimulation System, or
PerQ SANS. The SANS technology stimulates the sacral nerves, which affect
bladder control. The simple and safe SANS therapy can be performed in a physician's
Urinary incontinence affects an estimated 13 to 15 million Americans, with
an annual cost of treatment in the United States alone exceeding $15 billion.
About one half of people diagnosed with urinary incontinence are affected
by urge incontinence, characterized by a sudden, possibly frequent, urge to
pass urine. The disorder is caused by a malfunction of the nerves that control
"Causes of urge incontinence include an overactive bladder muscle,
abnormalities of the nervous system or stroke," said Karl Kreder, M.D.,
UI professor of urology. Kreder helped lead the research of the SANS technique.
"Urinary incontinence can occur following pregnancy and childbirth, pelvic
or spinal injuries, hormonal changes during menopause, prostate surgery and
from the normal aging process."
Previously, treatment for urinary incontinence focused on palliative measures,
such as absorbent pads, exercise or medications. Those approaches were not
always effective, and the medications can cause side effects. Surgery or implants
are also possible treatment options, but they can result in complications
such as infection or increased pain levels.
SANS involves inserting a fine gauge needle into the posterior tibial nerve
just above the ankle. The tibial nerve then carries an electrical stimulation
up the leg to the lower spine. Initially, 12 weekly treatments are performed,
each lasting 30 minutes. The results are then assessed and the frequency of
ongoing treatment sessions is tailored to the needs of each individual patient.
Study results showed that SANS therapy is up to 80 percent effective in
treating urinary urgency, frequency and pelvic pain.
"The results are promising," Kreder said. "Patients need
to be evaluated by an urologist to see if they are good candidates for SANS,
but it has great potential to help relieve symptoms in selected patients."
The SANS technology was developed by Urosurge, a firm based in Coralville,
Iowa, that was established to develop treatments for medical problems of the
genito-urinary tract. For more information about SANS therapy in the treatment
or urge incontinence, contact the UI Department of Urology in the UI Hospitals
and Clinics at (319) 356-2421.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the
UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care,
medical education and research programs and services they provide.