Minimally invasive sacral neuromodulation implant technique: modifications to the conventional procedure

Dis Colon Rectum. 2003 Mar;46(3):414-7. doi: 10.1007/s10350-004-6565-6.


Purpose: Sacral neuromodulation is a novel treatment for selected urinary and bowel dysfunctions. A new method is described for electrode implantation, the "minimally invasive sacral neuromodulation implant technique."

Methods: After the percutaneous nerve evaluation test, a small longitudinal incision (3 cm) is made, and a catheter cannula segment is inserted through the sacral foramen beside an insulated needle. The electrode is introduced into the catheter cannula, which is then removed and fixed to the sacrum by means of small anchors. The proximal part of the lead is tunneled into the subcutaneous tissue, reaching the pocket made to accommodate the neurostimulator.

Results: This procedure was performed in ten patients (5 male; mean age, 50.4 years). In four patients a single electrode was implanted, and in six patients two electrodes were implanted. The minimally invasive technique was significantly faster, saving a mean time of 20 minutes for each electrode. The incision made directly on the sacral foramen was significantly reduced (3 vs. 12 cm), avoiding the wide, blunt dissection of subcutaneous fat tissue. Application of the catheter cannula allowed the electrode to be introduced easily and correctly. The electrode anchors never failed: no cases of lead displacement or suboptimal position of the electrode occurred. A unilateral, sterile subcutaneous seroma occurred in one of the ten patients.

Conclusions: The minimally invasive sacral neuromodulation implant technique seems to be a safe procedure-making sacral neuromodulation implant easier, faster, and safer, in as much as complications could be potentially reduced.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Constipation / physiopathology
  • Constipation / surgery*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Fecal Incontinence / physiopathology
  • Fecal Incontinence / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lumbosacral Plexus / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urination Disorders / physiopathology
  • Urination Disorders / surgery*