International Journal of Colorectal Disease

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 305–310 | Cite as

Pudendal nerve terminal motor latency testing does not provide useful information in guiding therapy for fecal incontinence

  • Julia T. Saraidaridis
  • George Molina
  • Lieba R. Savit
  • Holly Milch
  • Tiffany Mei
  • Samantha Chin
  • James Kuo
  • Liliana Bordeianou
Original Article



Pudendal nerve terminal motor latency (PNTML) testing is a standard recommendation for the evaluation of fecal incontinence. Its role in guiding therapy for fecal incontinence has been previously questioned. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between PNTML testing and anorectal dysfunction.


This was a retrospective analysis of data collected prospectively from patients who presented to a pelvic floor disorder center from 2007 to 2015. The relationship between PNTML (normal versus delayed) and anorectal manometry, fecal incontinence severity, and fecal incontinence-related quality of life scores was assessed using the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test.


Two hundred sixty-nine patients underwent PNTML testing, and 91.1% were female (N = 245) (median age 62.2 years). Normal PNTML was seen in 234 (87.0%) patients. Among 268 patients who underwent anorectal manometry, delayed PNTML was only significantly associated with median maximum anal squeeze pressure (P = 0.04). Delayed PNTML was not associated with a decrease in median fecal incontinence severity or fecal incontinence-related quality of life scores (N = 99).


PNTML was only associated with median maximum anal squeeze pressure, and it was not associated with patient-reported severity of symptoms of fecal incontinence, changes in quality of life attributable to fecal incontinence, median mean resting anal pressure, or median maximum resting anal pressure. PNTML testing may not be relevant to current therapeutic algorithms for fecal incontinence and its routine use should be questioned.


Pudendal nerve terminal motor latency Anorectal dysfunction 


Compliance with ethical standards

This study was approved by the Partners Healthcare Institutional Review Board.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia T. Saraidaridis
    • 1
    • 2
  • George Molina
    • 2
    • 3
  • Lieba R. Savit
    • 2
    • 3
  • Holly Milch
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tiffany Mei
    • 2
    • 4
  • Samantha Chin
    • 2
    • 4
  • James Kuo
    • 2
    • 4
  • Liliana Bordeianou
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Colon and Rectal SurgeryLahey ClinicBurlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Colorectal Surgery Program and the Center for Pelvic Floor DisordersMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  3. 3.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  4. 4.Brandeis UniversityWalthamUSA

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