Abstract

Posterior tibial nerve stimulation for the treatment of fecal incontinence: a systematic evidence review

Edenfield AL1, Amundsen CL2, Wu JM3, Levin PJ4, Siddiqui NY5. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2015 May;70(5):329-41. doi: 10.1097/OGX.0000000000000171.
 
     
Author information

1Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. 2Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University, Durham, NC. 3Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. 4Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. 5Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University, Durham, NC.

Abstract

IMPORTANCE AND OBJECTIVES: Posterior tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) is a potential emerging therapy for fecal incontinence (FI). The aim of this study was to systematically review the literature regarding the efficacy of PTNS as a treatment of FI.

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: We searched MEDLINE/PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases from inception through November 2013. We included English-language full-text articles reporting outcomes for FI with either percutaneous PTNS or transcutaneous techniques (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation). We used the Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) system to assess study quality.

RESULTS: Our search yielded 1154 citations; 129 abstracts and 17 articles were included for full-text review. There were 13 case series and 4 randomized controlled trials. Fifteen studies were of low quality, none were of fair quality, and 2 studies were of good quality based on the Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation system. In total, 745 subjects were studied, and of those, 90% were women and 10% were men. Studies involved percutaneous PTNS in 57% (428/745) of the subjects, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation in 30% (223/745), and sham technique in 13% (94/745). Therapy frequency, maintenance therapy, and follow-up time varied across studies. Eleven studies assessed FI episodes and bowel movement deferment time; all but 1 showed statistical improvement after therapy. Ten of the 11 studies that used the Cleveland Clinic Florida Fecal Incontinence score reported statistically significantly improved scores after treatment.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Multiple low-quality studies show improvement in FI after PTNS. High-quality studies with comparison groups and clinically meaningful outcome measures would further establish the utility of PTNS for FI.

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