Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Department

Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Damaser, Margot

Subject Headings

Urinary stress incontinence, Urinary incontinence

Abstract

Stress urinary incontinence is characterized by the involuntary transurethral loss of urine caused by an increase in abdominal pressure in the absence of a bladder contraction that raises the vesical pressure to a level that exceeds urethral pressure. Adult women are most commonly affected by SUI which is believed to be caused in part by injuries to the pelvic floor sustained during childbirth. In spite of the large number of women affected by SUI, little is known about the mechanics associated with the maintenance of continence in women. In theory the mechanics underlying the mechanics of female continence can be investigated through the use of complex dynamic finite element models of the lower urinary tract and pelvic floor. However, several modeling challenges must be overcome to construct such a model. The work in this dissertation focused on overcoming the challenges associated with modeling the bladder and the urethra in the context of stress urinary incontinence and incorporating clinically obtained urodynamic data into these models. In the first part of the dissertation, the effect of varying the material properties of the bladder and the urethra on the vesical pressure predicted by the model was studied. The results indicated that the material properties of the bladder and urethra had minimal effect on the vescial pressure predicted by the model indicating that vesical pressure could not be utilized as the lone validation criteria in subsequent models. The second portion of the study focused on identifying a method that could be used to model the fluid structure interactions that occur as the urine contained within the bladder is forced into and through the urethral lumen and determining which parameters may affect the flow of urine through the urethra. The split operator form of the arbitrary lagrangian eulerian method was identified as a method that could be utilized to model these interactions. In addition, the results of the modeling effort suggest that the stiffness of the urethra, the pressure app

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