Electrical stimulation of sacral spinal nerves for treatment of faecal incontinence

Lancet. 1995 Oct 28;346(8983):1124-7. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(95)91799-3.


Functional deficits of the striated anal sphincteric muscles without any apparent gross defect often result in a lack of ability to postpone defaecation by intention or in faecal incontinence in response to increased intra-abdominal or intra-rectal pressure. We applied electrostimulation to the sacral spinal nerves to increase function of the striated muscles of the anal sphincter. Of three patients followed for 6 months, two gained full continence and one improved from gross incontinence to minor soiling. Closure pressure of the anal canal increased in all. Preliminary data indicate that anal closure pressure increases with the duration of stimulation. Continuous stimulation of sacral spinal nerves can help some patients with faecal incontinence. It may be possible to promote continence with intermittent stimulation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anal Canal / innervation*
  • Anal Canal / physiopathology
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy* / instrumentation
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy* / methods
  • Electrodes
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Fecal Incontinence / physiopathology
  • Fecal Incontinence / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Pressure
  • Rectum / innervation*
  • Rectum / physiopathology