PURPOSE: Sacral nerve stimulation
is offered to patients presenting with fecal incontinence
of neurological or idiopathic etiology, when medical management has failed. The purpose of this study was to investigate the causes of surgical revision following sacral nerve stimulation
in consecutive patients who had received implants.
PATIENTS AND METHODS:
From September 2001 to August 2009, 123 patients (105 women) of mean age 56 years were operated on for neurological (n = 104) or idiopathic (n = 19) fecal incontinence
. The mean preoperative Cleveland Clinic score was 13/20 (range 6/20 to 19/20). Eighty-seven patients of 123 had a positive test and underwent stimulator implantation. Any stimulator dysfunction was prospectively studied.
Among the 87 patients, 36 had surgical revision of the device for the following reasons: device-related failure due to infection in 4 (successful reimplant in 4), electrode displacement in 2, electrode breakage in 2 (reimplantation of electrode in 4), and dysfunction owing to impedance increase of the system in 4; adverse stimulation with pain in 7 (stimulator repositioning in 4 and explantation in 3); battery depletion either spontaneously (n = 6) or owing to a MRI examination (n = 2); total or partial loss of clinical efficacy in 9 (removal of the generator and electrode).
CONCLUSION: Sacral nerve stimulation
is a recognized treatment for fecal incontinence
. The stimulator reoperation rate is high and is caused by stimulator dysfunction in 24% of cases.