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Surface electromyography reliably records electrophysiologically evoked internal anal sphincter activity

A more minimally invasive approach for monitoring extrinsic innervation
: Kauff, D.W.; Wachter, N.; Heimann, A.; Krüger, T.B.; Hoffmann, K.-P.; Lang, H.; Kneist, W.


European surgical research 57 (2016), No.1-2, pp.81-88
ISSN: 0014-312X
ISSN: 1421-9921
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IBMT ()

Background: Even in the case of minimally invasive pelvic surgery, sparing of the autonomic nerve supply is a prerequisite for maintaining anal sphincter function. Internal anal sphincter (IAS) innervation could be electrophysiologically identified based on processed electromyographic (EMG) recordings with conventional bipolar needle electrodes (NE). This experimental study aimed for the development of a minimally invasive approach via intra-anal surface EMG for recordings of evoked IAS activity. Methods: Six male pigs underwent nerve-sparing low anterior rectal resection. Electric autonomic nerve stimulations were performed under online-processed EMG of the IAS. EMG recordings were simultaneously carried out with conventional bipolar NE as the reference method and newly developed intra-anal surface electrodes (SE) in different designs. Results: In all experiments, the IAS activity could be continuously visualized via EMG recordings based on NE and SE. The median number of bipolar electric stimulations per animal was 27 (range 5-52). The neurostimulations resulted in significant EMG amplitude increases for both recording types [NE: median 3.0 µV (interquartile range, IQR 2.8-3.5) before stimulation vs. 7.1 µV (IQR 3.9-13.8) during stimulation, p < 0.001; SE: median 3.6 µV (IQR 3.1-4.3) before stimulation vs. 6.8 µV (IQR 4.8-10.3) during stimulation, p < 0.001]. Conclusions: Intra-anal SE enabled reliable EMG of electrophysiologically evoked IAS activity similar to the conventional recording via NE. The transfer of the method to access platforms for transanal total mesorectal excision or robotics may offer a practical more minimally invasive approach for monitoring extrinsic innervation.