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Use of the pudendo-anal reflex in the treatment of neurogenic faecal incontinence.
  1. N R Binnie,
  2. B M Kawimbe,
  3. M Papachrysostomou,
  4. A N Smith
  1. University Department of Surgery, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh.


    An electrical stimulator has been devised to treat neurogenic faecal incontinence caused by pudendal nerve neuropathy and works on the basis of repeated stimulation of the pudendo-anal reflex arc. Although conduction in the pudendo-anal reflex arc may be prolonged, and is so in neurogenic faecal incontinence, it must be shown to be present before the method can be used. This stimulation results in an immediate rise in the pressure in the anal canal and a significant increase in the electromyographic activity of the external anal sphincter. Maintenance of the stimulus over a two month period raised the mean resting pressure significantly in the anal canal and increased the reflex and voluntary responses of the external anal sphincter to coughing and squeezing actions respectively. The length of the sphincter was not affected. There was widening of the mean motor unit potential duration, though this was not significant. The resting electromyogram was enhanced after the course of treatment, indicating greater spontaneous activity in the external sphincter. The changes led to seven of the eight patients studied becoming continent at the end of the treatment.

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