Quality of life is markedly improved in patients with fecal incontinence after sacral nerve stimulation

Ghislain Devroede, Chad Giese, Steven D. Wexner, Anders Mellgren, John A. Coller, Robert D. Madoff, Tracy Hull, Katherine Stromberg, Sudha Iyer

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42 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of the present analysis was to report on the relationship between long-term improvement in quality of life (QOL) and fecal incontinence (FI) severity and long-term reduction in FI episodes after sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) or sacral neuromodulation. Methods: Patients who met inclusion/exclusion criteria, and initially had more than 2 FI episodes per week, were offered SNS therapy. Patients with 50% or higher reduction in FI during a 2-week test period were implanted with a neurostimulator (InterStim; Medtronic, Minneapolis, Minn). Assessments were completed by patients at baseline and at 3, 6, and 12 months after implant, and annually thereafter. The present report includes data from the 4-year postimplant follow-up. Results: A total of 133 patients underwent test stimulation with a 90% success rate, and as a result, 120 (110 females) with a mean age of 60.5 years and a mean duration of FI of 6.8 years received longterm implantation. Of them, 78 patients completed all or part of the 4-year follow-up assessment. Fecal incontinence episodes decreased from a mean of 9.4 per week at baseline to 1.9 per week at 48 months (P < 0.001). The 4-year analyses showed that SNS had a positive and sustained impact on all 4 scales of the Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life questionnaire (P < 0.001), Fecal Incontinence Severity Index scores improved from a mean of 39.9 to 28 (P < 0.001), and self-rated bowel health scores improved from a mean of 3.5 to 6.9 (P < 0.001). Conclusions: Sacral nerve stimulation not only restores or improves continence in treated patients with chronic FI but also improves their quality of life and symptom severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
JournalFemale Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012


  • Fecal incontinence
  • QOL
  • Sacral nerve stimulation


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