Sacral Stimulators Change Lives


SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Fecal incontinence is heartbreakingly embarrassing for those who suffer from it. But now, there’s renewed hope with the “Sacral Stim,” an implanted, remote-controlled device, sending pulses to the bowel. It’s a life-changer, especially for young people like Kristy Pratt, who endured rectal cancer. Sacral Stimulators

Remote-controlled sacral stimulators send electrical signals to weak bowels, giving back control to those with fecal incontinence.

“Patients are being told that it’s part of the aging process, ‘You’re getting old; it’s just something you have to live with,’ and, it’s, honestly, not true,” informs Mario Alcantara, MD, Colorectal Surgeon at Baptist Health System.

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Kristy Pratt was just 49 when rectal cancer meant chemo, surgery, and radiation.

“I have to say that radiation for having rectal cancer radiation can be very humiliating, and humbling!,” Kristy recalls.

Then, fecal incontinence struck and Kristy needed a colostomy bag. So, when Dr. Alcantara told her that she might be to not have the bag, she was all in.

Sacral stim is performed with the patient lying on their belly.

“So, what I’m doing is putting a needle in that little hole, and I’m touching the nerve. I get a wire, the size of most patient’s hair, through that wire, needle, and pull that needle out and that wire is just touching that tree trunk,” explains Dr. Alcantara.

The tree trunk includes only the nerves controlling the bladder and bowel – nothing else. It takes five minutes and lasts a lifetime, helping 97 percent of patients.

Kristy says, “Now I swim, and I go fishing with my husband.”

“It’s allowed me to, not just treat cancers, but more importantly, give them a quality of life,” Dr. Alcantara says proudly.

Dr. Alcantara says a very short test before the implantation will prove whether or not your incontinence is caused from a nerve issue, or something else. There are alternatives and he advises you to talk with your doctor.

Contributors to this news report include: Donna Parker, Producer; Bruce Maniscalco, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:        MB #5326

BACKGROUND: Fecal incontinence, also known as bowel incontinence, is a medical condition characterized by the inability to control bowel movements, leading to involuntary passage of stool. This condition can range from occasional leakage of small amounts of stool to a complete loss of bowel control. Fecal incontinence can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, causing embarrassment, social withdrawal, and emotional distress. It is estimated that fecal incontinence affects as many as one in three people. Several factors can contribute to fecal incontinence, and the causes are often multifactorial. Common contributors are muscle or nerve damage, chronic diarrhea or constipation, anal sphincter dysfunction, rectal prolapse, and rectocele. Anyone can experience fecal incontinence but it is more common for those over 65 and in women.


DIAGNOSING: To be diagnosed with fecal incontinence, you must first see a gastrologist or a colorectal surgeon. An assessment along with a rectal exam is usually the first point of action. Common tests administered are an anorectal manometry, a balloon expulsion test, an endorectal ultrasound, a pudendal nerve terminal motor latency test, an anal EMG, a defecography, and an endoscopy. Depending on the severity of your condition, it can be treated with surgery, therapy, or medications. In less severe cases, you can manage it through lifestyle changes. Medications can include anti-diarrheal drugs and medicines to treat constipation such as bulk laxatives.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: As of recently, the implantation of an artificial bowel sphincter has become an option for patients suffering from end-stage fecal incontinence who did not receive help from conventional treatments. The device is an Action Neosphincter. It is an implantable device that is made of solid silicone. It includes three parts: an occlusive anal cuff, a pressure regulating balloon, and a control pump. It is used by the patient deflating the cuff through the control pump and letting it leave the rectum. The cuff will fill on its own throughout the next minutes restoring continence.



Natalie Gutierrez

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Mario Alcantara, MD, Colorectal surgeon

Read the entire Q&A