Frequently Asked Questions – About Sacral Nerve Stimulation

What is sacral nerve stimulation?

Sacral nerve stimulation is another treatment for managing faecal incontinence in people who have not found success with other treatments.

With sacral nerve stimulation, a small implantable device is surgically placed to stimulate your sacral nerve with mild electrical impulses. The sacral nerve controls your bowel and the muscles related to bowel function.

What do nerves have to do with defaecation?

Nerves carry information to and from the brain about bowel evacuation and storage. When the communication system between the sacral nerves and the brain is not working, a person can have bowel control problems.

What are the side effects/complications of sacral nerve stimulation?

Side effects may include, pain, skin irritation, infection, device problems, and lead movement.

What are the benefits of sacral nerve stimulation?

Sacral nerve stimulation may reduce bowel symptoms for many people who suffer faecal incontinence, including the leakage of gas, liquid, or solid stool. Sacral nerve stimulation is reversible and can be discontinued at any time.

How does sacral nerve stimulation work?

Sacral nerve stimulation uses a small, implanted device to send mild electrical pulses to a nerve located in the lower back. This grouping of nerves, called the sacral nerves, influences the bowel and surrounding muscles that manage bowel function. The electrical stimulation may eliminate or reduce certain bowel control symptoms in some people.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor is the best person to advise you about any treatment option.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 27 Sep 2010

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