Fecal incontinence treated by sacral neuromodulation: Long-term follow-up of 325 patients

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Abstract

Background.

Long-term results of large patient cohorts with fecal incontinence treated by sacral neuromodulation are limited. This study shows the long-term results after a mean follow-up of 7.1 years in 325 patients with fecal incontinence treated by continuous sacral neuromodulation.

Methods.

All patients with fecal incontinence and eligible for sacral neuromodulation between 2000 and 2015 were evaluated retrospectively. Primary outcome was a decrease in episodes of fecal incontinence, which was defined as involuntary fecal loss at least once per week and documented by a 3 week bowel habit diary. Quality of life was assessed using the Short-Form 36 and the Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life Score.

Results.

In the study, 374 patients were included for sacral neuromodulation screening and 325 patients (32 male, 9.7%) received permanent, continuous sacral neuromodulation. Mean age was 56.5 years (17–82 years) and mean follow-up was 7.1 years (3.0–183.4 months). In the 325 patients with permanent sacral neuromodulation, fecal incontinence episodes decreased from a mean of 16.1 ± 14.5 to 3.0 ± 3.7 per 3-week period after sacral neuromodulation (P < .001) according to the bowel habit diary. Sacral neuromodulation was removed due to unsatisfactory results in 81 patients. Quality of life (both Short-Form 36 and Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life Score) showed no significant difference compared with the Dutch population during follow-up.

Conclusion.

Long-term efficacy of sacral neuromodulation can be maintained in about half (52.7%) of all patients screened with sacral neuromodulation for fecal incontinence after a mean follow-up of 7.1 years. Importantly, the quality of life of patients with sacral neuromodulation for fecal incontinence did not differ from the general population.

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