Purpose and methods: Fourteen AMS 800 (American Medical Systems, Minneapolis, MN) urinary artificial sphincters have been consecutively implanted in 13 patients with total incontinence for stool of various causes (traumatic or postoperative, 7; congenital, 3; neurologic, 2; idiopathic, 1). No proximal stoma was constructed but was already present in one patient before implantation.
Results: Sepsis occurred in two patients. Removal of sphincter and colostomy was necessary in three patients: one of these two had developed sepsis, one had perineal ulceration before activation of the sphincter in a severely scarred perineum, and one had severe pain in a radiation-injured anorectum. Sphincter-related failure occurred once by rupture of the cuff in a constipated woman after two years of satisfactory function. Reimplantation of a new cuff restored normal continence in this patient. After median follow-up of 20 (range, 4-60) months, nine of ten patients with a functioning sphincter were continent for stool, and five were also continent for gas. Failure occurred in one patient because the cuff was too large to occlude the anal canal. This patient is awaiting reimplantation. Four patients experienced easily controlled difficulties with evacuation of feces. Anal pressure with inflated cuff varied from 43 to 94 (mean, 58 +/- 12) cm H2O.
Conclusion: These results show that an artificial sphincter has a role in the treatment of severe anal incontinence when local therapies are not applicable or have failed.