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Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS)

Neuromodulation to improve bowel and urinary continence

PTNS treats overactive bladder and incontinence by stimulating the nerves that regulate urinary and bowel function

About

Your bladder and bowels are regulated by nerves at the base of your spine called the sacral nerves. PTNS indirectly stimulates these nerves with mild electrical impulses sent via the tibial nerve in your leg. This stimulation can help to alleviate the frequent, strong and sudden urge to go to the toilet.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    PTNS is a minimally invasive procedure that requires no anaesthetic. A stimulation session usually lasts around 40 minutes. Most people have a course of weekly sessions over several months to change or regulate their bowel or bladder activity.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have. You may be asked to keep a diary of your bladder or bowel activity in the days or weeks before your treatment to compare and measure your response to PTNS. Some people may not be suitable for PTNS. You'll need to let your consultant know if you have a pacemaker or defibrillator, nerve damage or are pregnant. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    You'll be able to go home right after your treatment. You may feel some discomfort where the needle was inserted, but this shouldn't last long. Your consultant will monitor your response to PTNS and work with you to schedule a course of follow-up appointments. It may take several treatment sessions before you notice a change in your symptoms. Your consultant will let you know what to expect.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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