Background: The electrically stimulated gracilis neoanal sphincter was initially developed to treat refractory incontinence. Good early results were reported from the two centres that pioneered the technique. The aim of this study was to assess the operation in a prospective multicentre setting. Methods: The procedure was performed on 64 patients from seven centres worldwide and was performed in stages. All patients were evaluated clinically and manometrically before and after operation. Results: There was a high incidence of infective and hardware-related complications. At a median of 10 months following closure of the defunctioning stoma 56 per cent had experienced a good functional result. The major functional problems comprised evacuatory difficulties experienced by 25 per cent. Conclusion: The technique is effective in treating otherwise refractory incontinence. It is, however, a complex procedure and the morbidity rate may be high, particularly during the learning curve, factors that necessitate careful patient selection.
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