Neurophysiological evidence may predict the outcome of sacral neuromodulation

S. Malaguti, M. Spinelli, G. Giardiello, M. Lazzeri, U. Van Den Hombergh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Chronic stimulation of the sacral nerves has now become one of the most accepted stimulation therapies for functional lower urinary tract symptoms refractory to conservative treatment. Despite the existence of a large amount of literature on sacral neuromodulation (SNM) showing a fairly high percent of significant improvement in clinical outcome there are few experimental studies of SNM stimulus parameters and/or neurophysiological monitoring. We evaluated the specific action of SNM on the primary sensory cortical area. Somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) of the pudendal and posterior tibial nerves were evaluated in patients implanted with a monolateral permanent quadripolar electrode. Materials and Methods: A total of 24 patients underwent stage 1 monolateral sacral nerve implantation. Three SEP patterns were evaluated; namely before implantation, 1 month after stage 1 with stimulation set at 21 Hz and again with a pulse rate of 40 Hz. Results: In all patients SNM produced a significant decrease in pudendal SEP latency of the first positive deflection between baseline SNM stimulation at different pulse rates at the ipsilateral and contralateral implant sites. This finding was evidence of the effect of S3 SNM on the cortical sensory area and the specificity of pudendal SEPs in measuring how SNM modulates the afferent pathway from the spinal nerve to the cortical sensory area. Conclusions: Our study confirms previous observations that SNM acts by the afferent pathway at the cortical site level and it sheds light on so-called idiopathic lower urinary tract symptoms. A modification of SEPs induced by SNM seems to be a prognostic factor of clinical outcomes. The action of SNM on the afferent pathway from the sacral area to the somatosensory cortex is specific and neurophysiological evaluation via pudendal SEPs provides evidence to this effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2323-2326
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number6 I
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


  • Afferent pathways
  • Bladder
  • Electric stimulation
  • Evoked potentials
  • Urinary tract

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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