Electromyography of the internal anal sphincter performed under endosonographic guidance description of a new method

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The aim of our study was to investigate internal anal sphincter electromyographic signals.


Electromyography of the internal anal sphincter was performed with platinum wire electrodes in six healthy volunteers (three males and three females), inserted under endosonographic guidance. Platinum wire electrodes were also inserted into the external anal sphincter. Activity of both the internal and external anal sphincter in a 40-second period was measured.


Internal anal sphincter median activity was 22.1 (range, 5.5-67.6) μV. Slow-wave activity was 47 cycles/minute (range, 34-55 cycles/minute). After inflation of a rectal balloon with air until a constant relaxation of the anal canal was obtained, a decrease in internal anal sphincter activity to 15.9 (1.2-31.3) μV as well as a decrease in slow-wave activity to 34 cycles/minute (range, 27-40 cycles/minute) was found. The original internal anal sphincter EMG was resumed after deflation of the rectal balloon. External anal sphincter median activity was 31 (range, 0.77-18.6) μV. During inflation of the rectal balloon, a reflex increase in external sphincter EMG activity was found. With the rectal balloon fully inflated a part of this increase was still present, 11.0 (1.9-24.6) μV. In some of the subjects, this increased activity was superimposed on the internal anal sphincter recordings as well. During a voluntary squeeze it was not possible to identify internal anal sphincter activity due to activity of the external anal sphincter totally overriding the internal anal sphincter signal.


Precise EMG recordings from the internal anal sphincter is possible with endosonographic guidance of the electrodes, except during voluntary squeezing of the external anal sphincter.

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