Background: Long-term outcome data for anorectal biofeedback (BF) for fecal incontinence (FI) is scarce. Our aims were to describe the long-term symptom profile, quality of life, and need for surgery in FI patients following BF. Methods: One hundred and eight consecutive female patients with FI who completed an instrumented BF course were identified for long-term follow-up. In 61 of 89 contactable patients, outcome measures were assessed at short-term (end of BF), mid-term (9 months median), and long-term (7 years median) follow-up after treatment. Key Results: Long-term response rate (50% or more reduction in FI episodes/wk compared to before BF and not requiring surgical intervention) was seen in 33/61 (54%) patients. Thirteen of these had complete continence. Improvement was seen at short, mid, and long-term follow-up for patients’ satisfaction and control of bowel function. In contrast, fecal incontinence severity index and quality of life measures, which improved in short and mid-term, were no different from baseline by long-term follow-up. Patients classified as short-term responders were far more likely to display a long-term response compared to short-term non-responders (68% vs 18%, P <.001). Conclusions & Inferences: Long-term symptom improvement was observed in more than half of FI patients at 7 year post BF follow-up. Quality of life improvements, however, were not maintained. Patients improving during the initial BF program have a high chance of long-term improvement, while patients who do not respond to BF should be considered early for other therapies.
- fecal incontinence
- long-term outcome