Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus is, so far, the first and only medical center to approve of and offer patients with fecal incontinence a new breakthrough treatment, according to a press release.
Paul Pettit, MD, female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery specialist at Mayo Clinic, is the first physician to perform the surgery and implant the device known as the Fenix Continence Restoration System. Manufactured by Torax Medical Inc. and approved by the FDA in December 2015, the treatment involves a band of interlinked magnetic titanium beads on a titanium string that functions as the anal sphincter. The string of beads is placed around the anal canal in the closed position. As intra-abdominal pressure increases, the beads open to allow for the passage of stool. The magnetic beads then return to their closed position.
Fecal incontinence can affect more than 20% of women over the age of 45 years, and is often caused by childbirth, where muscles and nerves near the anus can be damaged. In the press release, Pettit said “the condition can be debilitating due to social isolation, depression, loss of self-esteem and self-confidence.”
Pettit has performed the surgery on four patients. The procedure takes about 45 minutes and requires one overnight hospital stay. After surgery, the device works immediately and does not require adjustments by the physician. In the past, Pettit said, the only option for those patients who did not improve through less invasive techniques was a colostomy.
Disclosure: Healio Gastroenterology was unable to confirm Pettit's relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.