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J Urol. 1999 Aug;162(2):352-7.

Sacral nerve stimulation for treatment of refractory urinary urge incontinence. Sacral Nerve Stimulation Study Group.

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University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver 80262, USA.



A prospective, randomized study was performed to evaluate sacral nerve stimulation for the treatment of refractory urinary urge incontinence.


Primary outcome variables were obtained from voiding diaries. After baseline evaluation candidates who satisfied inclusion criteria were enrolled into the study. Test stimulation results determined eligibility for randomization into a stimulation (treatment) or delay (control) group. The stimulation group included 34 patients who underwent implantation and were followed for 6 months. The delay group comprised 42 patients who received standard medical therapy for 6 months and then were offered implantation. The stimulation group completed a therapy evaluation test (on versus off) after 6 months.


At 6 months the number of daily incontinence episodes, severity of episodes and absorbent pads or diapers replaced daily due to incontinence were significantly reduced in the stimulation compared to the delay group (all p<0.0001). Of the 34 stimulation group patients 16 (47%) were completely dry and an additional 10 (29%) demonstrated a greater than 50% reduction in incontinence episodes 6 months after implantation. Efficacy appeared to be sustained for 18 months. During the therapy evaluation test the group returned to baseline levels of incontinence when stimulation was inactivated. Urodynamic testing confirmed that sacral nerve stimulation did not adversely affect voiding function. Complications included implantable pulse generator site pain in 15.9% of the patients, implant site pain in 19.1% and lead migration in 7.0%. Surgical revision was required in 32.5% of patients with implants to resolve a complication. There were no reports of permanent injury or nerve damage.


Sacral nerve stimulation is safe and effective in treating refractory urinary urge incontinence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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