Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Sacral nerve stimulation as an option for the treatment of faecal incontinence in patients suffering from cauda equina syndrome.

Spinal Cord 2008 September
STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective clinical study with 1-year follow-up.

OBJECTIVES: Treatment of faecal incontinence by permanent sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) in patients suffering from cauda equina syndrome (CES).

SETTING: Klosterneuburg, Austria.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: A flaccid paresis of the sphincter ani muscle and the pelvic floor combined with faecal incontinence can occur in patients suffering from CES as a result of a trauma in the region of the lumbar spine. If the incontinence cannot be managed by the use of laxatives or anal tampons, the patient is restricted in his/her quality of life. Thus, it was our aim to improve sphincter function and anal sensitivity to achieve voluntary rectal defaecation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The functional integrity of at least one sacral root (S2-S4) was determined through percutaneous nerve evaluation (PNE). Following this analysis, a period of external temporary SNS was performed to evaluate the functional effect. If there was a decrease in the number of episodes of faecal incontinence during this evaluation period, a neurostimulation device (InterStim; Medtronic) was implanted.

PATIENTS: A total of 11 patients suffering from flaccid paresis of the anal sphincter muscle and faecal incontinence caused by CES underwent PNE, which was successful in 8 patients. Two of these patients were eliminated from the procedure at the end of the temporary SNS period, one patient refused the permanent implantation. Therefore, five patients proceeded to permanent implantation, which led to an improved continence in all the cases.

DISCUSSION: In the synopsis of the preoperative proctologic and neurological findings, successful electric stimulation of the sacral roots can be expected in incomplete CES. In the case of flaccid paresis of the anal sphincter muscles caused by an incomplete CES, permanent SNS offers a promising option for the treatment of faecal incontinence. .

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