Sacral neuromodulation in children and adolescents with chronic constipation refractory to conservative treatment

A.A. van der Wilt*, Bart P. W. van Wunnik, Rosel Sturkenboom, Ingrid J. Han-Geurts, Jarno Melenhorst, Marc A. Benninga, Cornelius Baeten, Stephanie O. Breukink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Functional constipation in children and adolescents is a common and invalidating condition. In a minority of patients, symptoms persist despite optimal conservative therapy. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the short-term effects of sacral neuromodulation (SNM) in children and adolescents with constipation are sustained over prolonged period of time. Patients aged 10-20 years, with refractory constipation, fulfilling the Rome III criteria, were included in our study. If SNM test treatment showed > 50 % improvement in defecation frequency, a permanent stimulator was implanted. Primary outcome measure was defecation frequency during 3 weeks. Secondary endpoints were abdominal pain and Wexner score. To assess sustainability of treatment effect, a survival analysis was performed. Cross-sectional quality of life was assessed using the EQ-5D VAS score. Thirty girls, mean age 16 (range 10-20), were included. The mean defecation frequency increased from 5.9 (SD 6.5) in 21 days at baseline to 17.4 (SD 11.6) after 3 weeks of test treatment (p <0.001). During test treatment, abdominal pain and Wexner score decreased from 3.6 to 1.5 and 18.6 to 8.5 (p <0.001), respectively. Improvement of symptoms sustained during a median follow-up of 22.1 months (12.2-36.8) in 42.9 % of patients. On a scale from 0 to 100, quality of life was 7 points lower than the norm score (mean 70 vs. 77). SNM is a therapeutic option for children with chronic constipation not responding to intensive oral and/or laxative therapy, providing benefits that appear to be sustained over prolonged period of time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1459-1466
JournalInternational Journal of Colorectal Disease
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • Sacral neuromodulation
  • Constipation
  • Children
  • Adolescents

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