Diagnosis and Management of Fecal Incontinence

  • Arnold Wald
Large Intestine (B Cash, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Large Intestine


Purpose of Review

The purpose of this review is to highlight current and newer therapeutic approaches to treat fecal incontinence in patients who do not respond to conservative measures.

Recent Findings

Neurostimulation techniques, injection of bulking agents, and radiofrequency energy delivery to the anal canal have been proposed and tested for fecal incontinence over the last decade. Sacral stimulation is both effective and durable and is now the most popular of the invasive techniques whereas percutaneous tibial stimulation, radiofrequency energy, and bulking agents are either less effective or their evaluation has been handicapped by suboptimal study designs. The precise indications for the new vaginal control device and anal plugs remain to be established. The magnetic anal sphincter is disappointing. Stem cell therapy is a potentially exciting approach, which is in its infancy.


There continues to be an unmet need for innovative approaches to patients with fecal incontinence who do not respond to conservative measures. The efficacy of current and future therapies should be assessed using criteria more stringent than has been used in the past to provide a more realistic assessment of meaningful efficacy.


Fecal incontinence Anorectum Sacral neuromodulation Perianal bulking agents Radiofrequency energy delivery Anal plugs High-resolution anorectal manometry 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyUniversity of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public HealthMadisonUSA

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