In a nutshell
This study aimed to compare the effects on quality of life (QOL) of percutaneous and transcutaneous tibial nerve stimulation for the treatment of overactive bladder (OAB). The main finding was that both procedures were similarly effective at treating the symptoms of OAB.
OAB is characterized by symptoms such as experiencing incontinence (involuntary leakage of urine), having a strong urge to urinate, and being woken up at night due to the need to urinate (nocturia). Tibial nerve stimulation (TNS) is a treatment for OAB. It aims to use an electric current to stimulate the calf nerves (tibial nerves) responsible for bladder control.
Percutaneous TNS (PTNS) involves inserting the electrode through the skin to stimulate the nerve. Transcutaneous TNS (TTNS) involves stimulation of the nerve through a patch on the skin. TTNS is less invasive than PTNS. A comparison of the effectiveness of these methods in improving OAB symptoms and patient QOL has not been done.
Methods & findings
61 patients with OAB who had not responded to medical treatment were randomly assigned to receive PTNS or TTNS for 12 weeks. The patients kept a diary to record the outcomes of the treatment. Patient data on incontinence and OAB symptoms were collected before treatment, at week 6, and at week 12 of treatment. The patients’ own belief of benefits on symptoms were also recorded (treatment benefit scale).
Both those treated with PTNS and TTNS showed improvement in QOL and in OAB symptoms following treatment. The reported improvement in OAB symptoms was similar among those treated with PTNS and those treated with TTNS. The treatment benefit scale also did not appear to differ between the groups.
The bottom line
This study suggested that PTNS similarly effective as TTNS for the treatment of OAB. However, since TTNS is a less invasive option, the authors recommend TTNS for the treatment of OAB.
The fine print
The results of this study included a small number of participants. Further larger studies are needed.
Published By :
Neurourology and urodynamics
Oct 29, 2020
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