Trends in Surgeon-Level Utilization of Sacral Nerve Stimulator Implantation for Fecal Incontinence in New York State

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There is a paucity of real-world data regarding surgeon utilization of sacral nerve stimulation for fecal incontinence compared with anal sphincteroplasty.


This study aims to examine trends in sacral nerve stimulation use compared with sphincteroplasty for fecal incontinence and surgeon-level variation in progression to implantation of the pulse generator.


This is a population-based study.


Patients with fecal incontinence between 2011 and 2014 in New York who underwent stage 1 of the sacral nerve stimulation procedure were selected. For the comparison with sphincteroplasty, patients with fecal incontinence who underwent anal sphincteroplasty between 2008 and 2014 were included.


The main outcomes after sacral nerve stimulation generator placement were unplanned 30-day admission, emergency department visit within 30 days, revision or explant of leads or generator, and 30-day mortality.


Six hundred twenty-one patients with fecal incontinence underwent a stage 1 procedure with 79.7% progressing to stage 2. There has been an increase in the number of sacral nerve stimulation cases per year as well as the number of surgeons performing the procedure. The rate of progression to stage 2 among patients treated by colorectal surgeons was 80.2% compared with 77.0% among those treated by noncolorectal surgeons. Among those who completed stage 2, there were 3 (0.5%) unplanned 30-day admissions, 24 (4.4%) emergency department visits within 30 days, and 0 mortalities within 30 days. Thirty-two (6.5%) patients had their leads or pulse generator revised or explanted. There was a significant decrease in annual sphincteroplasty cases and the number of providers performing the procedure starting in 2011.


We lacked data regarding patient and physician decision making and the severity of disease.


Sacral nerve stimulation for fecal incontinence is increasing in popularity with an increasing number of surgeons utilizing sacral nerve stimulation for fecal incontinence rather than sphincteroplasty. See Video Abstract at

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