Functional results and patient satisfaction with sacral nerve stimulation for idiopathic faecal incontinence.

J. Duelund-Jakobsen*, B. van Wunnik, S. Buntzen, L. Lundby, C.G.M.I. Baeten, S. Laurberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aim Sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) is an established treatment for faecal incontinence (FI) when conservative modalities have failed to restore continence. This two-centre study aimed to document functional outcome and its relationship to patient satisfaction. Method Patients treated with SNS for idiopathic FI in Aarhus (Denmark) and Maastricht (The Netherlands) were included. At the most recent follow-up appointment, 127 patients (80%) were identified as receiving active SNS therapy. A questionnaire considering bowel habits, quality of life, and self-reported satisfaction and a 3-week bowel-habit diary were mailed to these patients, and 85% responded. Results Patient satisfaction was clearly related to the number of FI episodes. Patients experiencing full continence were all satisfied, and although the satisfaction rate decreased as the number of FI episodes increased, 46% of the patients with more FI episodes at follow-up than at baseline were still satisfied. Per-protocol analysis resulted in a satisfaction rate of 57.3%. In total, 74.7% of the patients receiving active SNS therapy reported a reduction of = 50% in FI episodes, 10.3% of whom were dissatisfied after a median of 46 months of follow-up. Conclusion There is a clear relationship between patient satisfaction and improved continence. A total of 57.3% of the patients offered SNS therapy were satisfied at follow-up. However, 46% of the patients with more FI episodes at follow-up than at baseline were also satisfied. Therefore, functional outcome of SNS therapy cannot be based only on bowel-habit diaries and bowel scores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)753-759
Number of pages7
JournalColorectal Disease
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • Sacral nerve stimulation
  • faecal incontinence
  • functional outcome
  • patient satisfaction

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