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Sacral neuromodulation for fecal incontinence in Latin America: initial results of a multicenter study



Sacral neuromodulation (SNM) is a widely used therapeutic option for fecal incontinence (FI). Larger series are mainly from Western countries, while few reports address the results of SNM in less developed or less wealthy countries. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of SNM in patients with FI in Latin America.


A retrospective study was conducted on patients with FI who had SNM between 2009 and 2016 at 15 specialized colorectal surgery centers in Latin America. Main outcomes measures were functional outcomes, postoperative complications, requirement of revisional surgery, and requirement of device removal. All patients had failed conservative management and had clinical assessment including recording of the validated Cleveland Clinic Florida Fecal Incontinence Score (CCF-FIS) and, when available, anal manometry and endoanal ultrasound. Patients were followed up for a median of 36.7 (1–84) months.


One hundred and thirty-one patients [119 females, median age of 62.2 (range 19–87) years] were included. The most common etiology of FI was obstetric injury (n = 60; 45.8%). After successful test lead implantation, the stimulator was permanently placed in 129 patients (98.5%). One patient failed to respond in the test phase and one patient did not proceed to permanent implantation for insurance reasons. Nineteen patients (14.7%) had 19 complications including infection (n = 5, 3.8%), persistent implant site pain (n = 5, 3.8%), generator/lead dislodgment (n = 5, 3.8%), malfunctioning device (n = 3, 2.3%), and hematoma (n = 1, 0.7%). Reimplantation after the first and second stages was necessary in 2 (1.5%) and 3 patients (2.3%), respectively. The device removal rate was 2.2%. At a median follow-up of 36.7 (range 1–84) months, the CCF-FIS significantly improved from a preoperative baseline of 15.9 ± 2.98 to 5.2 ± 3.92 (95%CI: 15.46 vs 4.43; p < 0.0001). Overall, 90% of patients rated their improvement as “significant”.


Sacral nerve stimulation for FI is safe and efficient, even in less wealthy or less developed countries.

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We wish to acknowledge the following surgeons for including patients in the database: Omar Vergara-Fernadez, MD, Hospital Medica Sur, Mexico City, Mexico; Quintin H. González-Contreras, MD, Hospital Ángeles del Pedregal, Mexico City, Mexico; Rafael Sánchez Morett, MD, Hospital Angeles Santa Mónica, Mexico City, Mexico, Juan Pablo Muñoz, MD, Department of Surgery, Hospital de Gastroenterologia, Buenos Aires, Argentina and Rubén Miravalle,MD, Buenos Aires,Argentina. We also wish to thank Elektra McDermott for her assistance in the editing and preparation of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to L. Oliveira.

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Conflict of interest

Wexner: Paid consultant for Medtronic. Oliveira, Hagerman, Torres, Lumi, Marzan: Paid consultant for Medtronic. Carrera Siachoque, Reyes, Perez-Aguirre, Sanchez-Robles, Guerrero, Regadas, Gaburgio Filho, Rosato, Vieira, Lima, Londoño-Schimmer: None.

Human and animal rights

All procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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This study was exempt from Ethics approval from the participating institutions.

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All patients gave signed informed consents prior to their surgery.

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Oliveira, L., Hagerman, G., Torres, M.L. et al. Sacral neuromodulation for fecal incontinence in Latin America: initial results of a multicenter study. Tech Coloproctol 23, 545–550 (2019).

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  • Fecal incontinence
  • Sacral neuromodulation
  • Complications
  • Lead explantation
  • Device explanation
  • Migration, Infection