Experimental investigation of the biomechanics of urethral tissues and structures.
Dynamic behaviors of the single-incision sling (SIS) to correct urethral hypermobility are investigated via dynamic biomechanical analysis using a computational model of the female pelvis, developed from a female subject's high-resolution magnetic resonance (MR) images. The urethral hypermobility is simulated by weakening the levator ani muscle in the pelvic model. Four positions along the posterior urethra (proximal, midproximal, middle, and mid-distal) were considered for sling implantation. The α-angle, urethral excursion angle, and sling-urethra interaction force generated during Valsalva maneuver were quantitatively characterized to evaluate the effect of the sling implantation position on treatment outcomes and potential complications. Results show concern for overcorrection with a sling implanted at the bladder neck, based on a relatively larger sling-urethra interaction force of 1.77 N at the proximal implantation position (compared with 0.25 N at mid-distal implantation position). A sling implanted at the mid-distal urethral location provided sufficient correction (urethral excursion angle of 23.8 deg after mid-distal sling implantation versus 24.4 deg in the intact case) with minimal risk of overtightening and represents the optimal choice for sling surgery. This study represents the first effort utilizing a comprehensive pelvic model to investigate the performance of an implanted sling to correct urethral hypermobility. The computational modeling approach presented in the study can also be used to advance presurgery planning, sling product design, and to enhance our understanding of various surgical risk factors which are difficult to obtain in clinical practice.