Is Sacral Neuromodulation Effective in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease?

Posted on: 22nd Apr, 2022


Overactive bladder, urinary incontinence, and fecal incontinence are more common among Parkinson’s disease patients than the general population, which begs the question, is sacral neuromodulation effective in people with Parkinson’s disease? The short answer, we believe, is a resounding yes. At the Continence Center here in Reno, we have had excellent success resolving bladder and bowel leakage symptoms for patients with Parkinson’s disease. Some recent published studies add further support to our findings. Previously, published reports have demonstrated effectiveness with sacral neuromodulation in small studies, but more data is always welcome.

Clinical Studies

A recent retrospective chart review published in Neurourology and Urodynamics by lead author Martin examined the outcomes among thirty-four patients with Parkinson’s and urinary symptoms, predominantly overactive bladder (OAB). Overall, the treatment was found to be effective. Eighty-two percent of patients proceeded to the implant after the initial trial procedure. Sixty-eight percent of patients were able to discontinue all their overactive bladder medications after the implant.

Another interesting study published in March 2022 attempted to perform a systematic review of the published literature on neuromodulation for urinary symptoms in Parkinson’s disease. The authors found few studies that met their inclusion criteria, with only one study of sacral neuromodulation included, and nine studies involving tibial nerve stimulation. However, the findings were supportive of neuromodulation in general, indicating improved symptoms in both the uncontrolled and randomized studies. Tibial nerve stimulation requires ongoing, repeated procedures, whereas sacral neuromodulation is a one-time 25-minute implant procedure.

The authors concluded that while the subject lacks large, randomized data, neuromodulation in nonetheless effective therapy for bladder dysfunction in Parkinson’s patients. 

It makes sense that neurologic causes of faulty bladder or bowel control, or overactive bladder would respond best to a neuromodulation therapy. Unfortunately, some insurance plans discriminate against Parkinson’s patients and patients with other neurologic conditions, denying coverage for sacral neuromodulation based upon inadequate data in these specific subgroups.

Our hope is that more studies like these will reveal the success of sacral neuromodulation in treating OAB, urinary incontinence and fecal incontinence so that individuals will have unrestricted access to the therapy.

If you’d like to learn more about sacral neuromodulation to treat incontinence, contact the Sasse Surgical team today.

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