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J Urol. 2011 Mar;185(3):970-5. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2010.10.060. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

National trends in the usage and success of sacral nerve test stimulation.

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  • 1Department of Urology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-5330, USA.



Little is known about outcomes of sacral neuromodulation in the general community, with published reports to date limited to case series or randomized, controlled trials. The goal of this analysis was to identify the national sacral neuromodulation test phase success rate and patient factors that contribute to success.


Medical claims data were obtained from a 5% sample of Medicare beneficiaries (1997 to 2007) and from employees of 25 large (Fortune 500) companies (Ingenix®, 2002 to 2007). Using billing codes for the sacral neuromodulation procedure, success was defined as progressing from test phase (percutaneous or staged) to battery implantation. The rate of success was compared based on age, race, gender and diagnosis.


In the Medicare sample 358 patients received percutaneous test stimulation and 1,132 underwent 2-stage lead placement, of whom 45.8% and 35.4%, respectively, underwent subsequent battery implantation. In the privately insured sample there were 266 percutaneous procedures and 794, 2-stage procedures. Percutaneous procedures were followed by battery placement in 24.1% of cases, whereas 50.9% of staged procedures resulted in battery implantation. Gender was the only consistent predictor of success, with female patients demonstrating higher success rates in each data set.


The sacral neuromodulation success rates in these data sets are inferior to those published in case series and small randomized, controlled trials. Women had significantly better results than men and privately insured individuals had better results than those with Medicare, indicating a potential age effect.

Copyright © 2011 American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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