Neurostimulation of the Gastrointestinal Tract: Review of Recent Developments

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Abstract

Objective:

Neurostimulation is one manifestation of neuromodulation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This manuscript reviews the history of neurostimulation of the GI tract with emphasis on current methods of stimulation.

Materials and Methods:

A review was completed of the current research on GI neurostimulation methods with an emphasis on their clinical applications.

Results:

Upper GI disorders can be modulated with both temporary (placed endoscopically or surgically) or permanent (placed surgically) gastric electrical stimulation (GES) devices. The current GI neurostimulation of stomach (GES) devices have been used in both children and adults, and some patients have been followed in excess of 15 years with good long-term results. Similar GES devices also have been used for a variety of lower GI disorders, including constipation and fecal incontinence, for a number of years.

Conclusions:

GI neurostimulation, as a type of neuromodulation, has been demonstrated to function at several locations in the GI tract for a variety of disorders. The future of neurostimulation in the GI tract will likely be influenced by a better understanding of pathophysiology as well as the development of new techniques and devices for neuromodulation.

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