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Research Abstracts Online
January 2008 - March 2009

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Institute of Technology
Department of Mechanical Engineering

PI: Arthur G. Erdman
Co-PI: Gerald W. Timm

Finite Element Analysis for Understanding of Female Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence (UI) is a common problem in females, but there is no clear understanding of the mechanisms that cause it to occur. The problem is especially common in women who have given birth, who are older, or who are elite-level athletes. These researchers have completed a three-dimensional CAD model with separate modeling of muscles and other structures. They have measured the mechanical properties of the bladder, uterus, and rectum, and have carried out finite element analysis to investigate the force developed in the female abdomen.

In order to gain a better understanding of the biomechanics of female UI, the researchers are building a geometry computer model of the female pelvis, using patients’ specific computed tomography or magnetic resonance image data. This model will include the bladder, uterus, rectum, pelvic bone, muscles, and skin. Finite element analysis will be carried out on this complicated model to investigate the biomechanics of the abdomen in elite female athletes during physical activity. This research will also help explain the causes for UI in athletes and will help provide guidelines for treatment.

Group Members

Prashanth Balasubramanian, Graduate Student
Nathan R. Handel, Graduate Student
Eric P. Jerke, Graduate Student
Seoggwan Kim, Research Associate
Andrew Schieber, Graduate Student
Yingchun Zhang, Research Associate