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A Novel Externally Applied Neuromuscular Stimulator for the Treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence in Women—A Pilot Study
Article first published online: 25 SEP 2012
© 2012 International Neuromodulation Society
Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface
Volume 16, Issue 6, pages 590–594, November/December 2013
How to Cite
Maher, R. M. and Caulfield, B. (2013), A Novel Externally Applied Neuromuscular Stimulator for the Treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence in Women—A Pilot Study. Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, 16: 590–594. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1403.2012.00509.x
Financial support: Grant from University College Dublin, Ireland.
Conflict of Interest: An international patent has been applied for by Drs. Maher and Caulfield for the novel device used in this pilot study. Dr. Maher is a consultant for Bio Medical Ltd., Galway, Ireland, who will manufacture the device. She currently provides training services for researchers using the device in other studies and provides assistance with research protocol design. Dr. Caulfield has received grants from Bio-medical Research, Ltd. for his research in neuromuscular electrical stimulation.
- Issue published online: 15 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 25 SEP 2012
- Received: May 14, 2012 Revised: July 7, 2012 Accepted: August 6, 2012
- Bladder control;
- functional electrical stimulation;
- functional electrical therapy;
- muscle contraction;
- muscle strengthening
Objectives: Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) is commonly used to treat lower urinary tract dysfunctions. This study evaluated the efficacy of a novel externally applied stimulator in the treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
Materials and Methods: Nine women were included in this study. Provocative tests included a cough and jumping jack test assessed via pad weight. Ultrasound (US) imaging assessed pelvic floor muscle (PFM) contraction. A bladder filling protocol allowed for delineation of the bladder from the pelvic floor and standardized volume. External electrodes were used during 30 min, at least four times per week treatment protocol at home for eight weeks. Participants were blinded to US and were not instructed regarding pelvic floor contractions.
Results: At week 1, participants could perform PFM contractions verified with US. More importantly, an 87.43% decrease in leakage was noted. At week 8, participants reported a 97.71% decrease in leakage (p= 0.0001). Changes noted in Incontinence Impact Questionnaire and Modified Oxford scores were significant (p= 0.0001 and p= 0.0001).
Conclusions: NMES is frequently used to promote muscle strength and coordination. Studies have shown NMES to be effective in decreasing symptoms associated with SUI; however, few, if any, have used it as a primary treatment modality. The novel device in this study was shown to be effective in improving muscle strength, reducing or ablating the symptoms associated with SUI, and in eliciting PFM contractions. The device is noninvasive and can be used as a home treatment.