Department of Urology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
The anatomy of the pudendal nerve and its nerve branches, especially the dorsal nerve of the penis and clitoris (dorsal genital nerves), and the clinical application of electrical stimulation of these nerves in patients with overactive bladder syndrome and detrusor overactivity are reviewed.
A literature search was performed using the PubMed® database and reference lists of relevant studies to obtain articles concerning the anatomy as well as the electrical stimulation of the pudendal nerve and its nerve branches in patients with overactive bladder syndrome.
According to the anatomy, electrical stimulation of the pudendal nerve and the dorsal genital nerves to suppress involuntary detrusor contractions is possible at several sites along their course from the sacral nerves to the penis or clitoris. The nerves are accessible by minimally invasive percutaneous methods. Stimulation of the pudendal nerve and dorsal genital nerves effectively increases bladder capacity, and inhibits involuntary detrusor contractions and overactive bladder symptoms.
More clinically applied studies are recommended for stimulation of the dorsal genital nerves to assess its value and feasibility because most studies have been performed in an acute and experimental setting. The preferred type of electrode is not known, but if wire electrodes can be implanted and fixated well by a minimally invasive procedure, cuff electrodes are not necessary. Before deciding on continuous or conditional stimulation, chronic clinical studies are recommended because acute studies remain inconclusive. The feasibility of conditional stimulation depends on the availability of a reliable and clinically applicable detrusor activity sensor.
Martens FM, Heesakkers JP, Rijkhoff NJ. Are you the author?
Reference: J Urol. 2011 Jul 23. Epub ahead of print.