Coverage Policy Manual
Policy #: 2009025
Category: Medicine
Initiated: August 2009
Last Review: August 2018
  Biofeedback as a Treatment of Urinary Incontinence in Adults

Description:
Urinary Incontinence (UI) is a common condition defined as an involuntary leakage of urine. Women are twice as likely to be affected as men and prevalence increases with age. The severity of incontinence affects quality of life and treatment decisions. The types of urinary incontinence include stress, urge, overflow, functional and post-prostatectomy incontinence. Nonsurgical treatment options may include pharmacological treatment, pelvic muscle exercises (PME), bladder training exercises, electrical stimulation and neuromodulation. Biofeedback, in conjunction with pelvic muscle exercises, has been proposed as a treatment modality for stress, urge, mixed and overflow urinary incontinence because it may enhance awareness of body functions and the learning of the pelvic floor exercises. There are several proposed methods of biofeedback which may be employed for the treatment of urinary incontinence including: vaginal cones or weights, perineometers and electromyographic (EMG) systems with vaginal and rectal sensors. Biofeedback is a technique intended to teach patients self-regulation of certain physiologic processes not normally considered to be under voluntary control. The technique involves the feedback of a variety of types of information not commonly available to the patient, followed by a concerted effort on the part of the patient to use this feedback to help alter the physiological process in some specific way. Biofeedback has been proposed as a treatment for a variety of diseases and disorders including anxiety, headaches, hypertension, movement disorders, incontinence, pain, asthma, Raynaud’s disease, and insomnia. Biofeedback training is done either in individual or group sessions, alone, or in combination with other therapies designed to teach relaxation. A typical program consists of 10 to 20 training sessions of 30 minutes each. Training sessions are performed in a quiet, non-arousing environment. Subjects are instructed to use mental techniques to affect the physiologic variable monitored, and feedback is provided for successful alteration of the physiologic parameter. This feedback may be signals such as lights or tone, verbal praise, or other auditory or visual stimuli.
 
The various forms of biofeedback differ mainly in the nature of the disease or disorder under treatment, the biologic variable that the individual attempts to control and the information that is fed back to the individual. Biofeedback techniques include peripheral skin temperature feedback, blood-volume-pulse feedback (vasoconstriction and dilation), vasoconstriction training (temporalis artery), and electromyographic (EMG) biofeedback; these may be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies (e.g., relaxation, behavioral management, medication).
 
A variety of biofeedback devices are cleared for marketing though the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 510(k) process. The FDA defines a biofeedback device as “an instrument that provides a visual or auditory signal corresponding to the status of one or more of a patient's physiological parameters (e.g., brain alpha wave activity, muscle activity, skin temperature, etc.) so that the patient can control voluntarily these physiological parameters”.
 

Policy/
Coverage:
Biofeedback for any condition is an exclusion in the member certificate of coverage in most member benefit certificates.
 
For member benefit certificates without this specific contract exclusion, biofeedback as a treatment of urinary incontinence in adults does not meet member benefit certificate primary coverage criteria that there be scientific evidence of effectiveness in improving health outcomes.  
 
For member benefit certificates without this specific contract exclusion, with contracts without primary coverage criteria, unsupervised home use of biofeedback for treatment of urinary incontinence is investigational.

Rationale:
Several methodologic difficulties arise in assessing biofeedback. For example, most interventions that include biofeedback are multimodal and include relaxation and behavioral instruction, which may have effects separate from those that may occur due to biofeedback. While studies may report a beneficial effect of multimodality treatment, without appropriate control conditions, it is impossible to isolate the specific contribution of biofeedback to the overall treatment effect. For example, relaxation, attention, or suggestion may account for successful results that have been attributed to biofeedback. These effects are nonspecific therapeutic factors, some of which can be considered placebo effects.
 
A 1995 TEC Assessment evaluated the use of biofeedback in the treatment of 9 different conditions: anxiety disorders, headaches, hypertension, movement disorders, incontinence, pain, asthma, Raynaud’s disease, and insomnia.  The Assessment concluded that while a substantial number of studies reported improvement in the biofeedback group relative to the no-treatment group, there were generally no differences when the isolated effect of biofeedback was compared with relaxation or behavioral therapy alone. The Assessment also concluded that while there was evidence that feedback on physiological processes provides patients with an enhanced ability to control these processes, there was nevertheless no consistent evidence of any relationship between a patient’s ability to exert control over the targeted physiological process and any health benefits of the intervention. This finding underscores the importance of seeking controlled studies showing whether use of biofeedback improves disease-related health outcomes, as opposed to physiological, intermediate outcomes. Studies also failed to consistently address the durability of effects beyond the initial short-term biofeedback training period. The findings that were reviewed suggest that the outcomes of biofeedback relative to no treatment are due to the other components of therapy or to the nonspecific effects of the therapeutic setting and are not a result of the biofeedback training per se.
 
The specific indication of biofeedback as a treatment of urinary incontinence was re-evaluated in 1997 and 2000 TEC Assessments.  These Assessments focused on the independent contribution of biofeedback as an adjunct to pelvic floor muscular exercises. The 1997 TEC Assessment concluded that while the controlled trials that isolated the contribution of biofeedback reported conflicting results, the weight of the evidence suggested no additional benefit for biofeedback above that obtained with pelvic floor muscle exercises alone.  All of the trials had low power to detect a small difference in outcomes; therefore, the possibility exists that larger trials with improved statistical power could demonstrate a beneficial effect of biofeedback. However, the TEC Assessment concluded that based on the available data, any such benefit, if present, is likely to be small and may not be clinically significant.
 
The conclusions of the 2000 TEC Assessment were similar to the 1997 Assessment, i.e., that the evidence is not sufficient to demonstrate an additional benefit for biofeedback above that obtained with pelvic floor muscle exercises (PME) alone:
 
    1. Six controlled trials reported outcomes of biofeedback for the treatment of stress incontinence. These trials failed to demonstrate that the addition of biofeedback is superior to PME alone.   
    2. An update of the literature since the 2000 TEC Assessment identified a single report that met study selection criteria for stress urinary incontinence. One small, randomized study compared individual biofeedback plus PME to group physical therapy focusing on PME.  Mixed results were reported, with the biofeedback group demonstrating better subjective outcomes and the physical therapy group having slightly better objective outcomes. The results are limited at best and mitigated by possible confounding introduced by individual versus group therapies, the lack of standard outcome measures (i.e., pad test), and possible bias introduced by a high rate of exclusions from the biofeedback group.
    3. One small, non-randomized study focused on patients with urge incontinence. There was no statistically significant improvement in outcomes for the biofeedback plus PME group as compared to the PME alone group.
    4. The literature update since 2000 identified no trials on urge incontinence meeting study selection criteria.
    5. One randomized trial investigated biofeedback in men with post-prostatectomy incontinence, a relatively uncommon indication for biofeedback at that time. A total of 30 patients were randomized to usual care or usual care plus biofeedback. Both groups improved significantly over time, but there was no difference between groups in the magnitude of improvement.
 
Two papers published since the 2000 Assessment have supported the findings of this earlier study. A randomized study of 42 post-prostatectomy patients found no significant difference in outcome between biofeedback plus PME and verbal feedback plus PME.  Both groups improved significantly over time. A second randomized trial of 100 patients evaluated a preoperative training program of biofeedback plus PME versus PME alone.  Again, both groups improved, but the continence rates as defined by pad test and the rate of continence return were not significantly different between groups. A third study, a randomized controlled trial of 102 post-prostatectomy patients, reported that improvement in both duration and degree of incontinence was significantly better in a group receiving PME plus biofeedback versus placebo. This trial, however, did not evaluate the additive effect of biofeedback.
 
In summary, the literature update did not identify evidence sufficient to alter the 2000 TEC Assessment findings on biofeedback for urge, stress, or post-prostatectomy incontinence.
 
Some trials have reported favorable outcomes with biofeedback plus pelvic floor exercises, but these studies have not examined the incremental effect of adding biofeedback to PME. For example, Burgio and colleagues reported on a study that randomized 197 women to receive either biofeedback-assisted pelvic muscle exercises or drug treatment or placebo.  While the biofeedback group reported improved results compared to placebo or drug treatment alone, this study did not isolate the independent contribution of the biofeedback to the pelvic muscle exercises. In a more recent study, Burgio and coworkers used a modified crossover design to evaluate the effects of combining biofeedback-assisted PME and drug treatment. Subjects with urge incontinence were randomized to biofeedback, drug, or placebo groups. Subjects not totally continent or satisfied after 8 weeks of treatment were offered the opportunity to cross over into combined therapy. Although the results showed that combining drug and biofeedback with PME in a stepped program produces added benefits beyond either single therapy, the incremental benefit of adding biofeedback to PME was not addressed. Similarly, McDowell and colleagues reported that outcomes with biofeedback-assisted pelvic muscle exercises were superior to a waiting-list control group.  Again, the independent impact of biofeedback on outcomes was not studied.
 
The focus of both the 1997 and 2000 TEC Assessments contrasts with the 1996 assessment on treatment of incontinence published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, AHCPR).  While the AHCPR assessment endorsed the use of behavioral therapy as a first-line treatment of incontinence, and identified biofeedback as a component of behavioral therapy, the AHCPR did not specifically evaluate the independent contribution of biofeedback to an overall behavioral approach.
 
Other evidence-based reviews on the effectiveness of biofeedback for urinary incontinence have generally found limited evidence or no evidence supporting a beneficial effect beyond that offered by PME alone. A Cochrane review conducted in 2000 concluded that formal comparisons of biofeedback-assisted PME versus PME alone consistently suggest that there is no added benefit in women with stress or mixed incontinence.  Berghmans and colleagues published a systematic review with qualitative data synthesis.  These authors concluded that there was strong evidence to support that the addition of biofeedback to pelvic floor muscle exercises (PME) does not offer additional benefits over PME alone. Weatherall performed a quantitative meta-analysis of the data included in the Berghmans report.  This analysis revealed a pooled odds ratio of 2.1 in favor of biofeedback, a result that reached marginal statistical significance.
 
Aksac and colleagues reported the results of a trial that randomized 50 patients with stress incontinence to 1 of 3 groups: self-directed PME, biofeedback-directed PME, or no treatment.  Outcomes were assessed with pad tests, perineometry, and pelvic floor muscle strength as assessed by digital palpation. The first 2 groups had a significant improvement in outcomes compared to the control (no treatment) group. The biofeedback group had increased strength in the pelvic floor muscles compared to those with self-directed PME, but the clinical significance of this difference is unclear. Two trials investigated the role of biofeedback in post-prostatectomy patients. In a randomized trial, Wille and colleagues reported that the addition of biofeedback did not improve the outcomes compared to PME alone.  Parekh and colleagues examined the role of biofeedback-enhanced PME offered both pre- and postoperatively to post-prostatectomy patients. (19) Since this trial did not include PME alone, the contribution of biofeedback cannot be isolated. Aukee and colleagues reported on a study that randomized 35 women with stress incontinence to receive pelvic floor training with or without additional biofeedback.  Patients were evaluated after a year; however, during this time 14 of the 35 underwent an incontinence operation, limiting interpretation of the study. Wang and colleagues conducted a study that randomized 103 women with overactive bladder to 1 of 3 arms: pelvic floor exercises, biofeedback-assisted pelvic floor exercises, or electrical stimulation.  There was a 14% dropout rate in this 12-week study; these results were not included in the statistical analysis. There was no significant difference in reduction in symptoms between the pelvic floor exercise group with or without biofeedback assistance.
 
A systematic review of pelvic floor muscle training to improve urinary incontinence after radical prostatectomy discussed 3 studies (281 men) that focused on the incremental value of biofeedback over written/verbal PME.  Although PME appeared to reduce the time to recover continence compared to no training, there was no evidence for an advantage of training with biofeedback over written/verbal instructions. An incremental improvement with biofeedback-PME or a combination of biofeedback-PME plus neuromuscular electrical stimulation was reported in a small study (10 subjects per group) of patients with multiple sclerosis; interpretation of the study results is limited due to the small group size and an imbalance in baseline measures following randomization.  A subsequent randomized study by the same group (74 patients with multiple sclerosis) reported that the addition of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (with biofeedback training) resulted in 85% incontinence reduction, compared to a 47% incontinence reduction in the control group trained only with biofeedback.  No evidence was identified that would alter the conclusions reached above; the policy statement is unchanged.
  
Technology Assessments and Systematic Reviews
In October 2006, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued their guideline on the management of urinary incontinence in women. NICE states that “perineometry or pelvic floor electromyography as biofeedback should not be used as a routine part of pelvic floor muscle training”, but that “electrical stimulation and/or biofeedback should be considered in women who cannot actively contract pelvic floor muscles in order to aid motivation and adherence to therapy.” This conclusion regarding use of biofeedback is based on expert opinion.
 
An Evidence Report/Technology Assessment, Prevention of Urinary and FecalIncontinence in Adults, based on research conducted by the Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) under contract to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Rockville was issued in December 2007.
 
The research objectives were to assess the prevalence of and risk factors for urinary incontinence (UI) and fecal incontinence (FI) in adults in long-term care (LTC) settings and in the community, the effectiveness of diagnostic methods to identify adults at risk and patients with incontinence, and to review the effectiveness of clinical interventions to reduce the risk of incontinence. The Report executive summary section titled “Effects of Clinical Interventions on UI”, includes the authors’ overview of the evidence on the clinical effectiveness of interventions including biofeedback for various UI conditions in adult females and males. The following are excerpts from the report that include biofeedback;
    • Clinical interventions for primary prevention of UI in pregnant women were examined in 8 large randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with more than 100 women and one smaller trial; pelvic floor muscle training with biofeedback and electrostimulation started at 9 weeks after vaginal delivery resulted in continence 10 times more often compared to usual care at 10 months of follow-up.
    • Clinical interventions for primary prevention of UI in males with urological diseases were examined in 12 randomized controlled trials, 2 of 8 trials with continence outcomes, reported significant benefit after pelvic floor muscle training with biofeedback compared to usual care; the highest continence rate (99 percent) was reported in a large, well designed RCT of early pelvic floor muscle training and biofeedback in participants who had radical retropubic prostatectomy for localized prostate cancer at one year of follow-up with a small significant relative benefit compared to usual care; continence rates in the control groups were more than 60 percent across other RCTs with no statistically significant differences compared to active treatments. The comparative effectiveness of pelvic floor muscle training compared to usual care in males after different treatment options for prostate cancer requires future confirmation in well-designed RCTs.
    • Pelvic floor muscle training for secondary prevention of UI found weak evidence suggesting beneficial effects of behavioral interventions on UI in females; pelvic floor muscle training combined with biofeedback were sensitive to one small RCT with a two-month follow-up.
 
The authors in discussing evidence limitations concluded that the applicability of clinical interventions that demonstrated significant improvement in incontinence was restricted to the sampled population groups. Whether these effective interventions would result in the same clinical benefit in other populations requires future research.
 
A systematic review of randomized, controlled trials of non-surgical treatments for urinary incontinence in women was conducted for the AHRQ evidence report.  This review examined 96 RCTs and 3 systematic reviews to synthesize evidence on the management of urinary incontinence in women. The studies included women with stress and urge urinary incontinence, overactive bladder with urge incontinence, or minimal urinary incontinence. The studies did not explicitly exclude women with other types of urinary incontinence; therefore, the effects of the treatments can be applied to women with mixed urinary incontinence. Study quality was analyzed using the following criteria: participant selection; length and loss of follow-up; use of intention-to treat principle; masking of the treatment status; randomization scheme; adequacy of randomization and allocation concealment; and justification of sample sizes. The efficacy of the clinical interventions was analyzed from the trials that compared active treatment to placebo, regular care, or no active treatments. The comparative effectiveness of the interventions was analyzed from the trials with active controls, long-term follow-up, adequate sample size and intention-to treat analysis. The evidence reviewed included 22 clinical intervention comparative trials with biofeedback in conjunction with pelvic floor muscle training. The overall strength of the evidence in these 22 studies was deemed low.
 
Nineteen RCTs (n=2,441) included pelvic floor muscle training with biofeedback compared with active interventions (education, bladder training, medical device, medications). The authors concluded continence and improvement rates did not differ when two active treatments were compared. Three RCTs (n=179) included pelvic floor muscle training with biofeedback and bladder training compared with regular care. The authors concluded that pelvic floor training with biofeedback and bladder training improved but did not resolve UI. In conclusion, the studies of behavioral interventions including pelvic floor muscle training and biofeedback relied largely on convenience samples that involved recruiting participants in the clinics while few studies reported population-based recruitment. Selection criteria varied for the same interventions and some clinical trials reported statistically significant differences at baseline among the treatment groups despite randomization. Pooling analysis was questionable due to clinical and methodologic differences across the studies and previous systematic reviews. Despite extensive efforts to standardize outcomes, assessment for urinary incontinence in the included studies measured a variety of outcomes.
 
In conclusion, despite both CMS and NICE guidance supporting biofeedback-assisted PME for women unable to voluntarily contract their pelvic floor muscles, no published evidence supports these hypotheses. Future research is needed to determine the comparative effectiveness of available treatments, including biofeedback.
 
No published evidence supports the unsupervised home use of biofeedback for treatment of urinary incontinence.
 
Summary
Therefore, the policy remains unchanged; biofeedback as a treatment for urinary incontinence is considered investigational due to insufficient evidence to permit conclusions concerning the impact of this procedure on net health outcomes. Specifically the value of adding biofeedback to a program of pelvic muscle exercises has not been demonstrated.
 
Physician Specialty Society Guidelines and Position Statements
In December 2007, NIH convened a Consensus Development Conference; Prevention of Fecal and Urinary Incontinence and subsequently released a statement.  Included in this statement was the following regarding pelvic floor muscle training and biofeedback: …”Pelvic floor muscle training and biofeedback are effective in preventing and reversing some pregnancy-related fecal and urinary incontinence for the first year after delivery. There is insufficient research on the sustained long-term benefits of pelvic floor muscle training or biofeedback on preventing fecal or urinary incontinence.”
 
2010 Update
 
A review of the literature has been conducted through August 2010.  There was no new literature identified that would prompt a change in the coverage statement.
 
In 2009, Mariotti and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial in Italy comparing a program of pelvic floor electrical stimulation and electromyographic biofeedback (2 sessions weekly for 6 weeks) to written/verbal instructions for pelvic muscle exercises (Mariotti, 2009).   All 60 patients (30 per group) completed the study through the 6-month follow-up. The mean time to regain continence was significantly shorter in the treatment group (8.0 weeks) than the control group (13.9 weeks, p=0.003). The continence rate was significantly higher in the treatment group beginning at the 4-week visit and continuing through the 20-week visit at which time 29 of 30 (96.7%) in the treatment group and 18 of 30 (60%) in the control group were continent. The difference in the rate of continence was not statistically significantly different at the final, 6-month visit at which time 29 patients in the treatment group continued to be continent compared to 20 of 30 (66.7%) in the control group. This is one study suggesting that biofeedback in combination with pelvic electrical stimulation may shorten the time to continence after prostatectomy; however, the effect of biofeedback without electrical stimulation compared to written/verbal instructions to perform pelvic floor muscle exercises was not evaluated.
 
In 2010, the Cochrane Collaboration published a systematic review of trials on pelvic floor muscle training for urinary incontinence in women (Dumoulin, 2010).   Several of the trials included biofeedback as part of the intervention. However, the Cochrane review did not include an analysis that specifically focused on the efficacy of pelvic floor muscle training with and without biofeedback and did not comment on the efficacy of biofeedback in their conclusions.
 
2013 Update
A search of the MEDLINE database through 2013 did not reveal any new literature that would prompt a change in the coverage statement. Two clinical trials and two reviews identified in the search are summarized below.
 
Two randomized controlled trials comparing the efficacy of PFMT alone to PFMT with biofeedback were published in 2012 and 2013 (Hirakawa, 2013; Pereira, 2012).  These studies tended not to find statistically significant differences in outcomes between interventions; however, sample sizes were small (i.e., less than 25 per group) and thus the studies may have been underpowered.
 
In 2012, an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) comparative effectiveness review on nonsurgical treatment of urinary incontinence in women was published (Shamliyan, 2012).  The review identified 6 RCTs with a total of 542 patients comparing pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) with biofeedback to PFMT alone. A meta-analysis of these studies did not find a statistically significant difference between interventions in continence rates. When findings of the studies were pooled, the relative risk (RR) was 1.27 and the 95% confidence interval (CI) was 0.88 to 1.85. The absolute risk difference was 0.08 (95% CI: -0.03 to 0.19). The following conclusion was given, “Women with stress UI (urinary incontinence) can achieve continence performing PFMT. Continence rates are similar between those who undergo PFMT with and without biofeedback” (Shamliyan, 2012).
 
Also, in 2012, a Cochrane review was published on conservative treatments for post-prostatectomy urinary incontinence (Campbell, 2012).  The review included a comparison of PFMT (with or without biofeedback) and sham or no treatment. It did not include an evaluation of the potential added value of biofeedback i.e., by comparing PFMT with biofeedback and PFMT without biofeedback.
 
In summary, there is a lack of consistent evidence from RCTs that biofeedback improves incontinence outcomes in women, or in men after prostate surgery compared to pelvic floor muscle exercises alone. No published evidence supports the unsupervised home use of biofeedback for treatment of urinary incontinence.
 
2014 Update
A literature search conducted through July 2014 did not reveal any new information that would prompt a change in the coverage statement. The key identified literature is summarized below.
 
A 2013 RTC trial by Dijkstra-Eshuis et al in the Netherlands evaluated the impact of preoperative PFMT and biofeedback on postoperative stress urinary incontinence in men undergoing laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (Dijkstra-Eshuis, 2013). Patients in the intervention group received 4 weekly sessions of biofeedback assisted muscle training before surgery. Patients assigned to the control group did not have a presurgical intervention. The primary outcome was the rate of continence 1 year after surgery. The investigators originally planned to enroll 248 patients. However, an interim analysis after 122 patients were enrolled showed no significant benefit for the intervention group, even if the trial was completed as planned and therefore the trial was halted prematurely. Among the 74 patients available for follow-up analysis, 66% in the intervention group and 80% in the control group were continent at 1 year.
 
In 2013 the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence published an updated guideline on the management of urinary incontinence in women (NICE, 2013). The recommendation is: “perineometry or pelvic floor electromyography as biofeedback should not be used as a routine part of pelvic floor muscle training” but that “electrical stimulation and/or biofeedback should be considered in women who cannot actively contract pelvic floor muscles in order to aid motivation and adherence to therapy.” The conclusion regarding use of biofeedback is based on expert opinion.
 
In 2012, the Canadian Urological Association issued a guideline on treatment of adult urinary incontinence (Canadian Urology, 2012). The guideline included the following conclusions on the use of biofeedback: Postprostatectomy incontinence: Preoperative biofeedback-assisted behavioral training may shorten the time to regain continence postoperatively and reduce the prevalence of severe incontinence 6 months after the procedure. Postoperative biofeedback did not appear to improve continence outcomes compared with PFMT.
 
Stress incontinence: The benefit of biofeedback is unknown.
 
2015 Update
A literature search conducted through July 2015 did not reveal any new information that would prompt a change in the coverage statement.  The key identified literature is summarized below.
 
Men with Postprostatectomy Urinary Incontinence
In 2015, a Cochrane review was published on conservative treatments for postprostatectomy urinary Incontinence (Anderson, 2015). The review included a comparison of PFMT (with or without biofeedback) and sham or no treatment. It did not include an evaluation of the potential added value of biofeedback (ie, by comparing PFMT with biofeedback and PFMT without biofeedback).
 
American College of Physicians
In 2014, the American College of Physicians published a clinical practice guideline on nonsurgical management of urinary incontinence in women (Qaseem, 2014). The guideline was based on literature published through December 2013. The authors concluded that low-quality evidence showed that pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) with biofeedback using a vaginal electromyography probe increased continent compared to no active treatment and that high-quality evidence showed that this combination of treatments improved urinary incontinence symptoms compared to no active treatment. The guideline did not address the comparison of PFMT alone and PFMT plus biofeedback.
 
2017 Update
A literature search conducted through July 2017 did not reveal any new information that would prompt a change in the coverage statement. The key identified literature is summarized below.
 
Systematic Reviews
Moroni and colleagues published a systematic review of 37 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on conservative treatment of stress urinary incontinence in women (Moroni, 2016). Five trials were identified that compared pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) plus biofeedback with biofeedback alone; the studies included a total of 250 women. A pooled analysis of 4 studies found significantly more urine loss as measured by a posttreatment pad test with PFMT alone than with PFMT plus biofeedback (mean difference [MD], 0.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.71 to 1.10). Reviewers noted that the difference between groups was likely not clinically significant because there was only about a 1-gram difference. Moreover, the finding was largely due to the effect of 1 study. Results on other outcomes (eg, quality of life, number of incontinence episodes) could not be pooled due to imprecision of the estimates.
 
Hsu and colleagues published a systematic review of PFMT with biofeedback in men who had radical prostatectomy (Hsu, 2016). Thirteen trials met reviewers’ inclusion criteria. However, on closer inspection, not all trials included a biofeedback intervention, and other trials did not compare PFMT alone to PFMT plus biofeedback. Thus, conclusions about the added efficacy of biofeedback cannot be determined from the results of this meta-analysis.
 
A 2003 randomized trial by Willie and colleagues randomized 139 men prior to radical prostatectomy to 1 of 3 groups (Willie, 2003). Group 1 received verbal and written instructions about PFMT from a physical therapist. Group 2 received PFMT instruction and instruction on using an electrical stimulation device. Group 3 received the previous 2 intervention components and training on using biofeedback with the electrical stimulation device. Patients had regular contact with a health care provider for the first 5 weeks after surgery. In the immediate postsurgical period, 20.5% in group 1, 22.9% in group 2, and 20.7% in group 3 were continent (p=0.815). After 6 and 12 months, continence rates remained similar among the groups. Twelve-month continence rates were 88% in group 1, 81% in group 2, and 88.6% in group 3 (p=0.524).
 
ONGOING AND UNPUBLISHED CLINICAL TRIALS
A search of ClinicalTrials.gov in July 2017 did not identify any ongoing or unpublished trials that would likely influence this review.
 
2018 Update
A literature search was conducted through July 2018.  There was no new information identified that would prompt a change in the coverage statement.  

CPT/HCPCS:
90875Individual psychophysiological therapy incorporating biofeedback training by any modality (face-to-face with the patient), with psychotherapy (eg, insight oriented, behavior modifying or supportive psychotherapy); 30 minutes
90876Individual psychophysiological therapy incorporating biofeedback training by any modality (face-to-face with the patient), with psychotherapy (eg, insight oriented, behavior modifying or supportive psychotherapy); 45 minutes
90901Biofeedback training by any modality
90911Biofeedback training, perineal muscles, anorectal or urethral sphincter, including EMG and/or manometry
E0746Electromyography (EMG), biofeedback device

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