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Int J Colorectal Dis. 2018 May;33(5):645-648. doi: 10.1007/s00384-018-2976-z. Epub 2018 Feb 22.

Sacral nerve stimulation versus percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation for faecal incontinence: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Department of Colorectal Surgery, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Fulham Road, London, UK.
Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College, London, UK.
Department of Colorectal Surgery, Royal Marsden Hospital, Fulham Road, London, UK.
Department of Colorectal Surgery, Singapore General Hospital, Academia, 20 College Road, Singapore, 169856, Singapore.



Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) and sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) are both second-line treatments for faecal incontinence (FI). To compare the clinical outcomes and effectiveness of SNS versus PTNS for treating FI in adults.


A literature search of MEDLINE, Embase, Science Citation Index Expanded and Cochrane was performed in order to identify studies comparing SNS and PTNS for treating FI. A risk of bias assessment was performed using The Cochrane Collaboration's risk of bias tool. A random effects model was used for the meta-analysis.


Four studies (one randomised controlled trial and three nonrandomised prospective studies) reported on 302 patients: 109 underwent SNS and 193 underwent PTNS. All included studies noted an improvement in symptoms after treatment, without any significant difference in efficacy between SNS and PTNS. Meta-analysis demonstrated that the Wexner score improved significantly with SNS compared to PTNS (weighted mean difference 2.27; 95% confidence interval 3.42, 1.12; Pā€‰<ā€‰0.01). Moreover, SNS was also associated with a significant reduction in FI episodes per week and a greater improvement in the Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life coping and depression domains, compared to PTNS on short-term follow-up. Only two studies reported on adverse events, reporting no serious adverse events with neither SNS nor PTNS.


Current evidence suggests that SNS results in significantly improved functional outcomes and quality of life compared to PTNS. No serious adverse events were identified with either treatment. Further, high-quality, multi-centre randomised controlled trials with standardised outcome measures and long-term follow-up are required in this field.


Faecal incontinence; Meta-analysis; Neuromodulation; Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation; Sacral nerve stimulation; Systematic review

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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