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Avera Medical Minute: Axonics device brings hope for those with incontinence

Published: Nov. 15, 2020 at 11:20 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Not much slows down Dee Grosz.

“I’ve been a volunteer with Avera for 15 years. I do some computer things upstairs. I’m still involved with the bereavement program. And, sometimes I’m a greeter at the door,” said Grosz.

One thing getting in the way of her plans: incontinence. She wanted an alternative to taking medication.

“It’s kind of a sensitive area to talk about because I was having some bowel issues, and I just needed to have something to keep me more regular, with something that would allow me a little more flexibility and freedom,” said Grosz.

Avera Urogynecologist Dr. Matthew Barkers sees patients, like Dee, often.

“It’s very common, as we get older, to lose some of the normal function, meaning having accidents, or having more urgency, or having to go more frequently,” said Dr. Barker. “The major reason most people go into nursing homes is they can’t control their bowel or their bladder.”

But, Dee’s brave decision to talk about her search for a solution may help others.

“I don’t even think we’ve scratched the surface on how many people are suffering from this,” said Barker.

The Axonics device is gaining attention.

“Dr. Becker recommended Axonics and that’s the one that I had implanted,” said Grosz.

For two weeks, Dee tried out the Axonics with a temporary implant.

“It sends electrical impulses to the nerves to help override the system, or even try and manipulate the nerves, so that they start firing and functioning appropriately,” said Barker.

After seeing the good results, Dee had the full device put just underneath her skin. The outpatient procedure took about thirty minutes.

“I feel like I’m kind of a bionic person, because every week I do have to recharge the battery that’s located in the back of my hip,” said Grosz.

“They’re low risk, they really can change their quality of life, and allow them to be active,” said Barker.

And, Dee has no desire to slow down anytime soon.

“I’m 80 years old and I have to chuckle because they said it’s good for 15 years, so that puts me at 95...going about my daily life like I want to,” said Grosz.

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