Infection Rate of a Prolonged Sacral Neuromodulation Test: A Large Retrospective Study

Published:October 04, 2022DOI:



      It is estimated that 3.8% to 12.5% of patients develop a device infection during the two to four weeks of the sacral neuromodulation (SNM) test, leading to removal of the entire system. It is possible to prolong the test phase up to the clinician’s decision, particularly when benefits are unclear. The aim of our study is to assess the device infection rate in a prolonged SNM test.

      Materials and Methods

      We retrospectively enrolled patients who performed a prolonged SNM test (at least eight weeks) in the last five years (2017–2021). All procedures were performed using a standardized technique and the same prophylactic antibiotic protocol. In case of a clinical suspicion of infection, all components were explanted. Patient information (age at implantation, medical history of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, immunologic diseases, or chronic immunosuppressive therapy), surgical data (operative time, intraoperative complications), and infection data (timing of onset, symptoms reported, wound culture results) were recorded.


      We enrolled 232 patients who underwent a prolonged SNM test (mean duration 65.5 days). A local infection that led to the removal of the entire system occurred in six patients (2.6%). The gluteal pocket was always involved, and in two cases, infection was also extended to the exit point of the extension wire. No significant correlations with clinical data were found. Infection occurred beyond four weeks in two cases, between three and four weeks in three cases, and within two weeks in one case. Intraoperative wound culture was performed in five of six patients, and Staphylococcus aureus (S aureus) was isolated in four cases. One culture test gave negative bacterial growth results.


      The infection rate of a prolonged eight-week SNM test is low and does not differ from that reported in the literature for a two-to-four–week SNM test. S aureus remains the most frequent bacterium involved.


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