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Health Check: New experimental treatment for fecal incontinence offered only in RI

There's a new experimental treatment for fecal incontinence that's being offered only in Rhode Island. (University Surgical Associates){ }
There's a new experimental treatment for fecal incontinence that's being offered only in Rhode Island. (University Surgical Associates)
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There is a new experimental treatment for fecal incontinence, and it's only being offered in Rhode Island at the University Surgical Associates by Colorectal Surgeon Dr. Leslie Roth.

Taylor Reeve, 34, of Minnesota, is one of two who've undergone this procedure.

Her symptoms of bowel leakage started after giving birth to her second child six years ago.

"For me, and with my story, that was very terrifying cos my mother had stage four colon cancer when I was 21. So to me, I thought I was destined for the same fate," recalled Reeve, who began having symptoms.

After testing, her doctor had some answers.

"No cancer, no crohn's, no colitis," Reeve recalled. "But you do have a sphincter laceration, so the muscle that controls when your stool comes out is broken and that was broken in childbirth."

For years, Reeve tried to manage with diet and exercise because she says she wasn't a great candidate for other treatments. Finally, desperate for a better solution, she went online earlier this year.

"That's when I saw this lovely thing -- stem cells -- fecal incontinence on this government listing of FDA studies that were going on."

That study led by colorectal surgeon, Dr. Leslie Roth, who learned about this experimental treatment from doctors in Italy. It’s a procedure that uses your own fat cells.

"It's all on the same day on the same trip to the operating room. Your cells are being taken out with lipo aspiration and stimulated through a washing procedure and re injected,” said Roth.

The idea: to cause bulking and ultimately -- over time -- repair the weakened tissue.

"So far, the two patients initially saw great results," said Roth.

"The bulking did help and that gave me so much more confidence," said Reeve.

Roth says the real results are expected over time. So, the patients are closely followed for two years.

This clinical trial is being funded through a donation from the Rosalyn and Joseph Sinclair Clinical Professorship in Pelvic Floor Disorders at The Miriam Hospital.

Women 18 to 50 years old who have experienced three or more "accidents" per week and who do not have other medical issues are encouraged to call 401-444-7148 to learn more.

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