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Anorectal motility responses to selective stimulation of the ventral sacral nerve roots in an experimental model. BJS 2005; 92: 1513-1519.

Published: 4th November 2005

Authors: I. S. Andersen, N. J. M. Rijkhoff, A. Vukovic, S. Buntzen, J. C. Djurhuus, S. Laurberg et al.


Control of defaecation and continence may be lost in patients with spinal cord injury. Electrical stimulation of sacral nerve roots to promote defaecation simultaneously activates both the rectum and the external anal sphincter (EAS), and may actually obstruct defaecation. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the EAS could be blocked selectively by selective stimulation of the ventral sacral nerve roots, and whether activation of the rectum without activation of the EAS could be obtained by stimulation of the ventral sacral nerve roots.


Selective electrical stimulation was performed using anodal blocking, a tripolar cuff electrode and monophasic rectangular current pulses applied to the sacral nerve roots in nine Göttingen minipigs.


Simultaneous responses in the rectum and the anal canal were observed in five animals, whereas only anal responses were noted in four. Variations in cross‐sectional area and an increase in rectal pressure seemed to facilitate defaecation. Without blocking, the increase in anal canal pressure was 16–45 cmH2O. With blocking, this increase was abolished in seven and reduced to 3–6 cmH2O in two animals.


Selective activation of the rectum is possible using an anodal block of somatic motor fibres. This technique holds promise in further development of electro‐defaecation. Copyright © 2005 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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