Electrical stimulation versus extracorporeal magnetic innervation for urinary incontinence after radical prostatectomy


Address for correspondence: S Terzoni, Bachelor School of Nursing, Azienda Ospedaliera San Paolo, Milan, Italy

E-mail: stefano.terzoni@ao-sanpaolo.it


Nurses use several conservative methods for treating urinary incontinence after radical prostatectomy. Functional electrical stimulation (FES) has a recognized role, while extracorporeal magnetic innervation (ExMI) is still under evaluation in the international guidelines. Few data are available in literature, regarding comparisons between these two treatments. The aim of the study is to compare electrical stimulation and magnetic innervation for treating urinary incontinence after radical prostatectomy. Twenty-two patients treated with ExMI and 18 treated with FES were enrolled in a retrospective study. ExMI was available for 6 weeks; the number of times ExMI was required by the patients to reduce their leakages to 10 g/d or less was compared. The groups had comparable age and body mass index. Initial leakages showed clinically relevant differences (median = 80 g/d in the ExMI patients and 150 g/d in the FES group). After 6 weeks, 71·9% of ExMI patients and 29·2% of FES patients had completed rehabilitation. The difference was statistically significant even after adjusting the analyses for initial leakages (p = 0·008). Six patients treated with ExMI had already undergone FES, with no clinically relevant results after five sessions (leakages reduction <50 g/d). The difference remained even after removing the data of these patients from the analysis (p = 0·004). Both FES and ExMI produce muscle strengthening, which is just one step of rehabilitation. Our findings suggest the possibility of using ExMI instead of FES to reduce the times required to improve muscular performance. Pelvic muscle exercises remain essential to develop the ability to automatically perform the contractions needed to avoid leakages.