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Colorectal Dis. 2007 Oct;9(8):725-30. Epub 2007 May 17.

Sacral neuromodulation in patients with faecal incontinence: results of the first 100 permanent implantations.

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Department of Surgery, University Hospital Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands.



Faecal incontinence (FI) is a socially devastating problem. Sacral nerve modulation (SNM) has proven its place in the treatment of patients with FI. In this study, the first 100 definitive SNM implants in a single centre have been evaluated prospectively.


Patients treated between March 2000 and May 2005 were included. Faecal incontinence was defined as at least one episode of involuntary faecal loss per week confirmed by a 3-week bowel habit diary. Patients were eligible for implantation of a permanent SNM when showing at least a 50% reduction in incontinence episodes or days during ambulatory test stimulation. Preoperative workup consisted of an X-defaecography, pudendal nerve terminal motor latency measurement, endo-anal ultrasound and anal manometry. The follow-up visits for the permanent implanted patients were scheduled at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months and annually thereafter. The bowel habit diary and anal manometry were repeated postoperatively during the follow-up visits.


A total of 134 patients were included and received a subchronic test stimulation. One hundred patients (74.6%) had a positive test stimulation and received a definitive SNM implantation. The permanent implantation group consisted of 89 women and 11 men. The mean age was 55 years (range 26-75). The mean follow-up was 25.5 months (range 2.5-63.2). The mean number of incontinence episodes decreased significantly during the test stimulation (baseline, 31.3; test, 4.4; P < 0.0001) and at follow-up (36 months postoperatively, 4.8; P < 0.0001). There was no significant change in the mean anal resting pressure. The squeeze pressures were significantly higher at 6 months (109.8 mmHg; P = 0.03), 12 months (114.1 mmHg; P = 0.02) and 24 months postoperatively (113.5 mmHg; P = 0.007). The first sensation, urge and maximum tolerable volume did not change significantly. Twenty-one patients were considered late failures and received further treatment.


Sacral neuromodulation is an effective treatment for FI. The medium-term results were satisfying.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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