Preliminary results of peripheral transcutaneous neuromodulation in the treatment of idiopathic fecal incontinence

Int J Colorectal Dis. 2006 Oct;21(7):670-2. doi: 10.1007/s00384-005-0068-3. Epub 2005 Dec 6.


Purpose: Few therapeutic tools are available for treating idiopathic anal incontinence. Sacral neuromodulation appears to be effective in selected patients but requires surgical implantation of a permanent electrical stimulator. The aim of this work was to assess the efficiency of posterior tibial nerve (PTN) transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) in the treatment of anal idiopathic incontinence.

Methods: Ten women were treated by PTN TENS, 20 min a day for 4 weeks. Functional results were evaluated by Wexner's incontinence score and anorectal manometry.

Results: Eight of the ten patients showed a 60% mean improvement of their incontinence score after 4 weeks. This improvement remained stable over the 12-week follow-up period. Manometric parameters did not differ before and after stimulation.

Conclusion: PTN neuromodulation without surgically implanted electrode could represent a safe and low-cost alternative to permanent sacral neuromodulation for idiopathic anal incontinence.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Fecal Incontinence / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Tibial Nerve
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation / methods*