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.
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.
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 long-term 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).
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.