Purpose: We assess clinical and urodynamic results of sacral nerve stimulation for patients with neurogenic (spinal cord diseases) urge incontinence and detrusor hyperreflexia resistant to parasympatholytic drugs.
Materials and methods: Since 1992, 9 women with a mean age of 42.6 years (range 26 to 53) were treated for refractory neurogenic urge incontinence with sacral nerve stimulation. Neurological spinal diseases included viral and vascular myelitis in 1 patient each, multiple sclerosis in 5 and traumatic spinal cord injury in 2. Mean time since neurological diagnosis was 12 years. All patients had incontinence with chronic pad use related to detrusor hyperreflexia. Intermittent self-catheterization for external detrusor-sphincter dyssynergia was used by 5 patients. Social life was impaired and these patients were candidates for bladder augmentation. A sacral (S3) lead was surgically implanted and connected to a subcutaneous neurostimulator after a positive test stimulation trial.
Results: Mean followup was 43.6 months (range 7 to 72). All patients had clinically significant improvement of incontinence, and 5 were completely dry. Average number of voids per day decreased from 16.1 to 8.2. Urodynamic parameters at 6 months after implant improved significantly from baseline, including maximum bladder capacity from 244 to 377 ml. and volume at first uninhibited contraction from 214 to 340 ml. Maximum detrusor pressure at first uninhibited contraction increased in 3, stabilized in 2 and decreased in 4 patients. Urodynamic results returned to baseline when stimulation was inactivated. All patients subjectively reported improved visual analog scale results by at least 75% at last followup.
Conclusions: Sacral nerve stimulation can be used as a reversible treatment option for refractory urge incontinence related to detrusor hyperreflexia in select patients with spinal lesions.