Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation for Overactive Bladder (OAB)

Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation for Overactive Bladder (OAB)

The Urology Group of Princeton now offers percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) as an adjunct to patients with overactive bladder (OAB) for whom behavioral therapy or pharmacology has not sufficiently addressed the associated symptoms of urinary urgency, urinary frequency, and urge incontinence.

PTNS, also known as posterior tibial nerve stimulation, is a minimally invasive form of neuromodulation used as a supplementary treatment option for overactive bladder. It has been found to be effective at reducing the number of times a person with OAB needs to urinate.

Performed as an out-patient procedure, the process begins with the patient comfortably seated and the treatment leg elevated. A fine needle electrode is inserted near the ankle, where the tibial/sural nerve is located, and a surface electrode is placed on the arch of the foot. The needle electrode is connected to an external pulse generator which delivers an adjustable electrical pulse. This pulse travels through the tibial nerve to the sacral nerve plexus that, among other functions, regulates bladder function.

The stimulation often causes involuntary toe flexing/fanning or an extension of the entire foot; however, for some patients, it may only result in a mild sensation in the ankle area or across the sole of the foot.

In general, PTNS requires once-a-week 30-minute treatments for 12 weeks. Many patients notice improvements by the 6th week. Patients who respond favorably to treatment may require ongoing treatments, every 3-weeks or so, to sustain the improvements.

PTNS is a low-risk procedure; the most common side-effects are temporary and minor. They include minor bleeding, mild pain, and skin inflammation resulting from the placement of the needle electrode.

For more information on percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation and to find out if it is right for you, please contact the Urology Group of Princeton to schedule a consultation.