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Br J Surg. 2013 Feb;100(3):330-8. doi: 10.1002/bjs.9000.

Randomized controlled trial of percutaneous versus transcutaneous posterior tibial nerve stimulation in faecal incontinence.

Author information

1
Physiology Unit, St Mark's Hospital, Watford Road, Harrow HA1 3UJ, UK. anilthomasgeorge@hotmail.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Percutaneous, transcutaneous and sham transcutaneous posterior tibial nerve stimulation was compared in a prospective blinded randomized placebo-controlled trial.

METHODS:

Patients who had failed conservative treatment for faecal incontinence were randomized to one of three groups: group 1, percutaneous; group 2, transcutaneous; group 3, sham transcutaneous. Patients in groups 1 and 2 received 30-min sessions of posterior tibial nerve stimulation twice weekly for 6 weeks. In group 3, transcutaneous electrodes were placed in position but no stimulation was delivered. Symptoms were measured at baseline and after 6 weeks using a bowel habit diary and St Mark's continence score. Response to treatment was defined as a reduction of at least 50 per cent in weekly episodes of faecal incontinence compared with baseline.

RESULTS:

Thirty patients (28 women) were enrolled. Nine of 11 patients in group 1, five of 11 in group 2 and one of eight in group 3 had a reduction of at least 50 per cent in weekly episodes of faecal incontinence at the end of the 6-week study phase (P = 0·035). Patients undergoing percutaneous nerve stimulation had a greater reduction in the number of incontinence episodes and were able to defer defaecation for a longer interval than those undergoing transcutaneous and sham stimulation. These improvements were maintained over a 6-month follow-up period.

CONCLUSION:

Posterior tibial nerve stimulation has short-term benefits in treating faecal incontinence. Percutaneous therapy appears to have superior efficacy to stimulation applied by the transcutaneous route.

REGISTRATION NUMBER:

NCT00530933 (http://www.clinicaltrials.gov).

PMID:
23300071
DOI:
10.1002/bjs.9000
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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