Sacral nerve stimulation for fecal incontinence improves symptoms, quality of life and patients' satisfaction: results of a monocentric series of 119 patients
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- Damon, H., Barth, X., Roman, S. et al. Int J Colorectal Dis (2013) 28: 227. doi:10.1007/s00384-012-1558-8
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Sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) is validated as an efficient treatment for fecal incontinence (FI). However, long-term results are scarce in the literature. The goal of this study was to assess the impact of SNS on FI symptoms and quality of life, based on a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data.
From 2001 to 2009, 119 patients (six men, mean age 61 years) underwent SNS testing for FI after an extensive diagnostic workup. Permanent implantation was realized when FI symptoms improved during testing, and follow-up visits were performed every 12 months thereafter. This follow-up evaluated morbidity and efficacy, based on clinical data and self-administered questionnaires including Jorge and Wexner FI score, urinary incontinence score (urinary distress inventory-6, UDI-6), gastrointestinal quality of life index (GIQLI), and auto-evaluation scale.
A permanent stimulator was implanted after a positive test in 102 patients (91 %). Ten patients were explanted during follow-up (pain in one case and absence of efficacy in nine), and 29 had the stimulator and/or the electrode changed. The mean follow-up was 48 months (range 12–84): there was a significant improvement of FI score (9 ± 1 vs 14 ± 3, p < 0.0001), UDI-6 score (8 ± 4 vs 11 ± 5, p < 0.05), and GIQLI index (p < 0.002). The improvement was present at 12 months follow-up and remained stable. Eighty percent of patients were satisfied with the treatment at the last point of follow-up. None of the pretreatment variables were predictive of SNS efficacy.
SNS improved FI and quality of life, and this efficacy remained over time. Although a complete disappearance of FI was rare, most patients were satisfied.