Faecal incontinence is a common and devastating disorder. The causes of faecal incontinence can be quite varied, and the treatment can range from simple diet measures and pelvic floor exercises to requiring surgical repair of the muscles around the anus (the “sphincters”). Recently, Sacral Nerve Stimulation (SNS) has emerged as a very safe and effective technique for patients suffering faecal incontinence. It is especially useful in those patients who do not have an obvious tear or damage to their sphincters. It’s suitability for your situation needs to be discussed with your colorectal surgeon.
SNS involves two phases. The first phase is the “test phase”. During this phase, a wire is placed through the sacrum (the tail bone) and connected to an external “pacemaker”, or battery stimulator. For the following 2-3 weeks, the patient keeps a diary to assess whether there has been an improvement in their symptoms. If this phase is successful, then a permanent lead is placed and an implantable pacemaker is inserted under the skin above the buttock. Both of these phases can be done as a day case procedure and have minimal complications.
For more information on Sacral Nerve Stimulation (SNS) and faecal incontinence, please click on the button below to be taken to the Medtronic website or the Faecal Incontinence page on this website.