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Development of a Physical Simulation of the Human Defecatory System for the Investigation of Continence Mechanisms

Stokes, William Elliot (2018) Development of a Physical Simulation of the Human Defecatory System for the Investigation of Continence Mechanisms. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Faecal incontinence is a highly debilitating condition, prevalent across the population worldwide. Coupled with a large unmet need for clinically viable treatment options, a paucity of research into the biomechanics of continence inhibits the development of treatments which address multi-faceted challenges associated with the condition. Consequently, this thesis presents a method to fabricate, measure and control a physical simulation of the human defecatory system to investigate individual and combined effects of anorectal angle and sphincter pressure on continence. To illustrate the capabilities and clinical relevance of the work, the influence of a passive-assistive artificial anal sphincter (FENIX) is evaluated. A model rectum and associated soft tissues, based on geometry from an anonymised computerised tomography dataset, was fabricated from silicone and showed behavioural realism in terms of their morphology to the biological system and ex-vivo tissue. Simulated stool matter with similar rheological properties to human faeces was developed. Instrumentation and control hardware were used to regulate injection of simulated stool into the system, define the anorectal angle and monitor stool flow rate, intra-rectal pressure, anal canal pressure and puborectalis force. Studies were conducted to examine the response of anorectal angles at 80°, 90° and 100° with simulated stool. Tests were then repeated with the inclusion of a FENIX device. Stool leakage was reduced as the anorectal angle became more acute. Conversely, intra-rectal pressure increased. Overall inclusion of the FENIX reduced faecal leakage, while combined effects of the FENIX and an acute anorectal angle showed the greatest resistance to faecal leakage. These data demonstrate that the anorectal angle and sphincter pressure are fundamental in maintaining continence. Furthermore it demonstrates that use of the FENIX can increase resistance to faecal leakage and reduce anorectal angles required to maintain continence. The physical simulation of the defecatory system is an insightful tool to better understand, in a quantitative manner, the effects of the anorectal angle and sphincter pressure on continence. This work is valuable in helping improve our understanding of the physical behaviour of the continence mechanism and facilitating improved technologies to treat severe faecal incontinence.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Related URLs:
Keywords: Faecal incontinence, physiological model, incontinence device
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Engineering (Leeds) > School of Mechanical Engineering (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.755137
Depositing User: Mr William Stokes
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2018 11:44
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21571

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