Professional background

Miss Sohier Elneil is a consultant urogynaecologist and uro-neurologist at UCLH and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. She started her career in the field of urogynaecology in the early 1990s, when she became involved with patients who suffered vesico-vaginal fistulas and female genital mutilation in the developing world. Despite surgery, many of them went on to suffer further problems with incontinence and chronic pelvic pain. This formed the basis of a career that started with gynaecology and went onto sub-specialisation in the field of female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, formerly known as urogynaecology.

Her research interest led her on to do her PhD at the University of Cambridge to study the physiology and pharmacology of sensory bladder dysfunction in women. This was with a view to determine whether the pathophysiology could be elucidated, and hence form the focus for new drug therapies and device therapies. This naturally led on to her current interest in the neurology of the bladder and its surrounding organs at a cellular level, and the role they play in both neurogenic and non-neurogenic bladder dysfunction. As a result she also looks after women with uro-neurological problems, which incorporates the investigation, diagnoses and treatment of patients with neurological bladder and pelvic floor dysfunction.

At the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, she runs the neuromodulation programme for bladder and pelvic floor dysfunction, which is used in patients in whom most other treatment modalities have failed. This includes percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation, along with sacral and pudendal neuromodulation. The innovations in this field have been immense in the last few years and she is currently the chief investigator for the UK for the Implantable PTNS system (Bluewind Medical) and also for the new sacral neuromodulation rechargeable battery system (Axonics Modulation Technologies).

Research interests

Over the last decade, she has developed the field of neuro-urogynaecology. Her research programme is based within this field and in particular she is focused on the neuropathology of bladder/bowel/pelvic floor dysfunction and the role of innovative therapy in restoring function to these sites (with the proviso of understanding the mechanism of action). This involves both clinical and basic science research and collaborates with colleagues in the UK, Europe, America, Africa and Asia. She has been awarded grants for work on sensory mechanisms in the bladder, mechanism of action studies in neuromodulation, the role of chemo-neuromodulation in chronic pain states, obstetric fistula research and female genital mutilation research.

She is also teaching and training colleagues in the UK and further afield. She has recently been honoured with a visiting professorship in obstetrics and gynaecology to the University of Ibadan in Nigeria (the oldest University in Africa) for her ongoing work in developing and instituting a new postgraduate degree in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, for which she is also a preceptor and trainer.

She has been an invited speaker, has chaired workshops and actively teaches at University College London, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Surgeons, the International Federation of Gynaecologists and Obstetrics and numerous professional organisations, including the European Association of Urology, International Continence Society, International Urogynaecology Association, Pan African Urological Surgeons Association and many others.