The Urethra is a long tubular structure in the genitourinary tract and serves important functions. Researchers have experimented with some approaches to model the urethra and to analyse its biomechanical properties. However, experiments to model the in-vivo behaviour of urethra with strictures is not thoroughly explored. To analyse the in-vivo urethral properties and specifically for supporting treatment of strictures, a new inflatable sensor-actuator system is being developed. The capabilities of this sensor shall be evaluated in simulations which require appropriate modelling of the human male urethra with strictures. This forms a part of the identification procedure for a variety of urethra conditions and geometries, which in turn forms a basis for inverse modelling. As an initial simplified approach, an axisymmetric Finite Element model was generated that resembled the urethra incorporating a stricture region. An ideal actuator with sensor elements exerting a pressure on inner wall of this urethra was simulated. Three circumference measurement zones within the sensor height (top surface, centre and bottom surface) were implemented. The resulting pressure-extension (circumferential) responses were determined at these measurement zones. The sensor was placed at different lengths within this urethral tube and inflated and the pressure-extension responses were noted. It was found that depending on the position of the sensor-actuator, the extension of tissue can vary. The possible factors for this variation were the finite length of the actuator as well as the influence of tissue properties around the measurement zones. This is important information for the interpretation of sensor data to be gained by the current development. It was possible to generate datasets based on an ideal sensor model, that proved helpful in the evaluation of biomechanical tissue properties in healthy and stricture conditions. This indicates simulations are a versatile and prospective way to test new sensors prior to real experiments.
© 2021 The Author(s), published by Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.