Tibial Nerve Stimulation for Faecal Incontinence

2014-08-27 03:36:08 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this study is to determine whether tibial nerve stimulation is an effective treatment for faecal incontinence.


Faecal incontinence is a common problem, affecting approximately 2% of the adult general population. Initial management involves dietary advice, anti−diarrhoeal medication, and behavioural therapy. In those who have not benefited from these conservative techniques sacral nerve stimulation is an established and effective treatment for faecal incontinence. This treatment involves using electrical pulses to stimulate the S3 nerve root − a nerve at the bottom of the back. These are the nerves which supply the lower end of the bowel, and the anal sphincter. It is believed that it is stimulation of the sensory fibres heading back towards the spinal cord at this level which is important for the therapeutic effect. To stimulate the sacral nerves however requires two operations under general anaesthetic, and surgical implantation of an expensive nerve stimulator.

The tibial nerve also contains fibres that arise from the S3 part of the spinal cord. Electrical stimulation of the tibial nerve will therefore send sensory information back to the same region of the spinal cord as sacral nerve stimulation. The tibial nerve is much more easily accessible on the inside of the ankle, and this allows stimulation to be carried out as an outpatient and without the need for surgery. It can be performed either percutaneously (with a fine needle placed through the skin to sit next to the nerve), or transcutaneously.

Tibial nerve stimulation has been successfully used for patients with urinary incontinence. There are small studies looking at tibial nerve stimulation for faecal incontinence which both show a benefit, but these studies are not controlled. We aim to determine in a randomised controlled trial whether either percutaneous or transcutaneous tibial nerve stimulation is an effective treatment for faecal incontinence.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment


Fecal Incontinence


Percutaneous posterior tibial nerve stimulation, Transcutaneous tibial nerve stimulation, Sham transcutaneous tibial nerve stimulation


St Mark's Hospital
United Kingdom
W9 3EF




North West London Hospitals NHS Trust

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:36:08-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Disease of the TIBIAL NERVE (also referred to as the posterior tibial nerve). The most commonly associated condition is the TARSAL TUNNEL SYNDROME. However, LEG INJURIES; ISCHEMIA; and inflammatory conditions (e.g., COLLAGEN DISEASES) may also affect the nerve. Clinical features include PARALYSIS of plantar flexion, ankle inversion and toe flexion as well as loss of sensation over the sole of the foot. (From Joynt, Clinical Neurology, 1995, Ch51, p32)

Disease or damage involving the SCIATIC NERVE, which divides into the PERONEAL NERVE and TIBIAL NERVE (see also PERONEAL NEUROPATHIES and TIBIAL NEUROPATHY). Clinical manifestations may include SCIATICA or pain localized to the hip, PARESIS or PARALYSIS of posterior thigh muscles and muscles innervated by the peroneal and tibial nerves, and sensory loss involving the lateral and posterior thigh, posterior and lateral leg, and sole of the foot. The sciatic nerve may be affected by trauma; ISCHEMIA; COLLAGEN DISEASES; and other conditions. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p1363)

The medial terminal branch of the sciatic nerve. The tibial nerve fibers originate in lumbar and sacral spinal segments (L4 to S2). They supply motor and sensory innervation to parts of the calf and foot.

Entrapment of the distal branches of the posterior TIBIAL NERVE (which divides into the medial plantar, lateral plantar, and calcanial nerves) in the tarsal tunnel, which lies posterior to the internal malleolus and beneath the retinaculum of the flexor muscles of the foot. Symptoms include ankle pain radiating into the foot which tends to be aggravated by walking. Examination may reveal Tinel's sign (radiating pain following nerve percussion) over the tibial nerve at the ankle, weakness and atrophy of the small foot muscles, or loss of sensation in the foot. (From Foot Ankle 1990;11(1):47-52)

A nerve which originates in the lumbar and sacral spinal cord (L4 to S3) and supplies motor and sensory innervation to the lower extremity. The sciatic nerve, which is the main continuation of the sacral plexus, is the largest nerve in the body. It has two major branches, the TIBIAL NERVE and the PERONEAL NERVE.

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