Biofeedback improves functional outcome after sphincteroplasty

L. L. Jensen, Ann C Lowry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


The primary treatment for obstetric sphincter injury is overlapping sphincteroplasty. However, despite restoration of the anatomy, only 65 percent of patients are fully continent. PURPOSE: This study was undertaken to determine if post-operative biofeedback improved continence in patients with poor functional outcomes after sphincteroplasty. METHOD: Outcomes of 28 patients who underwent electromyographic biofeedback training after sphincteroplasty for obstetric sphincter injury were reviewed. Nine patients had an accompanying levatorplasty. Average age was 34 (range, 23-57) years. Patients began biofeedback a mean of 32 (range, 2-192) months postoperatively. Before beginning biofeedback, patients completed an incontinence questionnaire, bowel diary, and scored their incontinence. At the end of treatment, they were again asked to score their incontinence and rate their improvement. Using an incontinence scale with a maximum score of 30, the average incontinence score before biofeedback was 20 (range, 13-30). Incontinent episodes per week ranged from one to nine. Sixteen patients were incontinent to solid stool. RESULTS: Overall, the average posttreatment incontinence score decreased from 20 to 3 (P < 0.0001). Average number of incontinent episodes per week decreased from 5.4 to 1.4 (P < 0.0001) Twenty- five patients (89 percent) reported improvement in their continence. All had a posttreatment incontinent score of less than three. Three patients noted no improvement. Of those, one subsequently had a colostomy, one is waiting the implant of an artificial anal sphincter, and one has sought no further treatment. There were no complications reported. CONCLUSION: Biofeedback improves functional outcome after sphincteroplasty and is a reasonable option for patients with less than optimum outcome after sphincteroplasty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-200
Number of pages4
JournalDiseases of the colon and rectum
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1997


  • Anal sphincteroplasty
  • Biofeedback
  • Fecal incontinence


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