Clinical concomitant benefits on pelvic floor dysfunctions after sacral neuromodulation in patients with incomplete spinal cord injury

Spinal Cord. 2011 May;49(5):629-36. doi: 10.1038/sc.2010.176. Epub 2011 Feb 1.


Objectives: To assess the concomitant clinical improvement in incomplete spinal cord injury patients (SCIPs) suffering from neurogenic bowel symptoms (NBSs), neurogenic lower urinary tract symptoms (NLUTSs) and neurogenic erectile dysfunction (NED) using sacral neuromodulation (SNM) for NBSs and NLUTSs.

Methods: Seventy-five SCIPs were selected. Before and during the follow-ups post-SNM, NLUTSs and NBSs were detected mainly through specific diaries. Erectile function was assessed using the International Index of Erectile Function composed of 5 questions (IIEF5). Quality of life (QoL) was measured with the Short Form 36 Health Survey questionnaire (SF-36). During the first stage, in which a permanent electrode was inserted percutaneously into the third sacral foramina and stimulated using an external generator, patients with NBSs or NLUTSs were required to improve their symptoms by at least 50% compared with baseline before proceeding to the second stage in which the generator was placed in the patient's buttock. NED patients needed to increase their IIEF5 score by at least 25% compared with baseline (evaluated initially 3 months after the second stage) in order to continue follow-up.

Results: Fourteen out of 37 subjects who manifested two functional pelvic dysfunctions at baseline maintained notable clinical improvement in two pelvic functions (median follow-up >3 years). Six had non-obstructive retention (NOR) and NED, six double incontinence, and two constipation with NOR. In the general and mental health domains of the SF-36, all patients improved their scores by at least 20% compared with baseline.

Conclusions: SNM may be beneficial to selected incomplete SCIP with concomitant pelvic functional disturbances.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurogenic Bowel / etiology
  • Neurogenic Bowel / physiopathology*
  • Neurogenic Bowel / therapy
  • Pelvic Floor / innervation*
  • Pelvic Floor / physiopathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / therapy
  • Urinary Bladder, Neurogenic / etiology
  • Urinary Bladder, Neurogenic / physiopathology*
  • Urinary Bladder, Neurogenic / therapy
  • Young Adult