Purpose: Of the various treatments proposed for urge incontinence, frequency and urgency electrostimulation has been widely tested. Different techniques have been used with the necessity of surgical implantation (S3 neuromodulation or sacral root stimulation) or without requiring surgery (perineal transcutaneous electrostimulation). Recently peripheral electrical stimulation of the posterior tibial nerve was proposed for irritative symptoms in first intention or for intractable incontinence. Clinical studies have demonstrated good results and urodynamic parameters were improved after chronic treatment. However, to our knowledge no data concerning acute stimulation and immediate cystometry modifications have been reported. We verified urodynamic changes during acute posterior tibial nerve stimulation.
Materials and methods: A total of 44 consecutive patients with urge incontinence, frequency and urgency secondary to overactive bladder were studied. There were 29 women and 15 men with a mean age +/-SD of 53.3 +/- 18.2 years. Of the patients 37 had detrusor hyperreflexia due to multiple sclerosis (13), spinal cord injury (15) or Parkinson's disease (9), and 7 had idiopathic detrusor instability. Routine cystometry at 50 ml. per minute was done to select the patients with involuntary detrusor contractions appearing before 400 ml. maximum filling volume. Repeat cystometry was performed immediately after the first study during left posterior tibial nerve stimulation using a surface self-adhesive electrode on the ankle skin behind the internal malleolus with shocks in continuous mode at 10 Hz. frequency and 200 milliseconds wide. Volume comparison was done at the first involuntary detrusor contraction and at maximum cystometric capacity. The test was considered positive if volume at the first involuntary detrusor contraction and/or at maximum cystometric capacity increased 100 ml. or 50% during stimulation in compared with standard cystometry volumes.
Results: Mean first involuntary detrusor contraction volume on standard cystometry was 162.9 +/- 96.4 ml. and it was 232.1 +/- 115.3 ml. during posterior tibial nerve stimulation. Mean maximum cystometric capacity on standard cystometry was 221 +/- 129.5 ml. and it was 277.4 +/- 117.9 ml. during stimulation. Posterior tibial nerve stimulation was associated with significant improvement in first involuntary detrusor contraction volume (p <0.0001) and significant improvement in maximum cystometric capacity (p <0.0001). The test was considered positive in 22 of the 44 patients.
Conclusions: These results suggest an objective acute effect of posterior tibial nerve stimulation on urodynamic parameters. Improved bladder overactivity is an encouraging argument to propose posterior tibial nerve stimulation as a noninvasive treatment modality in clinical practice.