A fiber-optic sensor-based device for the measurement of vaginal integrity in women

Luke A. Parkinson, Anna Rosamilia, Shayanti Mukherjee, Anthony W. Papageorgiou, Joan Melendez-Munoz, Jerome A. Werkmeister, Caroline E. Gargett, John W. Arkwright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Aims: Pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) in women are a major public health concern. Current clinical methods for assessing PFDs are either subjective or confounded by interference from intra-abdominal pressure (IAP). This study introduces an intravaginal probe that can determine distributed vaginal pressure during voluntary exercises and measures the degree of vaginal tissue support independent of IAP fluctuations. Methods: An intravaginal probe was fabricated with 18 independent fiber-optic pressure transducers positioned along its upper and lower blades. Continuous pressure measurement along the anterior and posterior vaginal walls during the automated expansion of the probe enabled the resistance of the tissue to be evaluated as a function of displacement, in a manner reflecting the elastic modulus of the tissue. After validation in a simulated vaginal phantom, in vivo measurements were conducted in the relaxed state and during a series of voluntary exercises to gauge the utility of the device in women. Results: The probe reliably detected variations in the composition of sub-surface material in the vaginal phantom. During in-vivo measurements the probe detected distributed tissue elasticity in the absence of IAP change. In addition, the distribution of pressure along both anterior and posterior vaginal walls during cough, Valsalva and pelvic floor contraction was clearly resolved with a large variation observed between subjects. Conclusions: Our data highlight the potential for the probe to assess the integrity of the vagina wall and support structures as an integrated functional unit. Further in vivo trials are needed to correlate data with clinical findings to assist in the assessment of PFDs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2264-2272
Number of pages9
JournalNeurourology and Urodynamics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • medical device
  • optical fiber sensors
  • pelvic floor muscles
  • pelvic organ prolapse
  • vagina

Cite this