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Successful sacral neuromodulation treatment of refractory faecal incontinence in a patient with spina bifida and partial sacral agenesis
  1. Douglas Luchristt and
  2. Amie Kawasaki
  1. Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Douglas Luchristt; douglas.h.luchristt{at}


A woman in her early 20s with a history of lumbosacral lipomyelomeningocele with associated partial sacral agenesis and tethered cord was referred for possible sacral neuromodulation treatment of her refractory faecal incontinence. Anorectal testing revealed a thinned and weakened anal sphincter complex with absent left-sided bulbocavernosus and anal wink reflexes.

Through a two-stage approach, she underwent successful placement of a chronic tined quadripolar sacral nerve lead and implanted pulse generator. Despite significant distortion of normal bony anatomic landmarks, bilateral S3 and S4 foraminal entry was possible, with intraoperative motor and sensory testing providing key confirmation of appropriate lead placement. The patient had a substantial improvement in her baseline frequency and urgency with a near-complete resolution of faecal incontinence episodes during her test phase.

  • Neurological injury
  • Incontinence
  • Congenital disorders
  • Urological surgery
  • Urology

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  • Contributors DL and AK both contributed to the clinical care provided in this case and the literature search, manuscript drafting and image generation for this case report.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.