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Neuromodulation. 2019 Apr 30. doi: 10.1111/ner.12953. [Epub ahead of print]

Needle Placement and Position of Electrical Stimulation Inside Sacral Foramen Determines Pelvic Floor Electromyographic Response-Implications for Sacral Neuromodulation.

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Department of Urology, Antwerp University Hospital, Edegem, Belgium.
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium.
Department of Urology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherland.



Lead placement within the sacral foramen in sacral neuromodulation patients is guided by visual assessment of the contraction of the pelvic floor musculature (PFM) and/or verbal assessment of the sensation and location of sensation upon stimulation. Generally, lead placement is proceeded by needle probing. This study evaluates which location inside a single sacral foramen would be most ideal for the release of the permanent electrode lead, by measuring electromyographic (EMG) motor responses of the PFM upon stimulation of a peripheral nerve evaluation (PNE) needle.


In eight patients, four standard PNE needles, and in one patient, two PNE needles, were introduced into the same foramen, parallel to the midline and parallel to each other. Position was verified by X-ray. Needles were stimulated (square pulsed waves, 210 μsec, 14 Hz) at increasing amplitudes (1-2-3-5-7-10 mA). PFM EMG was measured using the Multiple Array Probe (MAPLe) placed intravaginally or intrarectally, with 24 derivations. For this study, the mean (normalized) EMG was taken of all electrodes and different positions within the foramen were compared using the Wilcoxon signed rank test.


A total of 202 PFM EMG measurements were recorded upon stimulation. EMG motor responses of the PFM for current stimulation = <2 mA showed statistically significant higher mean (normalized) EMG values for needles positioned cranial, medial, and cranial-medial, in comparison to needles positioned caudal, lateral, and caudal-lateral (p = 0.004; p = 0.021; p = 0.002).


Our data suggest stronger PFM contractions are elicit in cranial- and medial-placed PNE needles upon stimulation with clinically relevant current amplitudes (≤ 2 mA). Placement of the lead should aim for this spot in the foramen.


Electromyography; new instrumentation; overactive bladder; pelvic floor; pelvic organ dysfunction; prospective study; sacral neuromodulation; sacral neurostimulation; urinary incontinence neuromodulation; urinary retention


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