Smart implant helps better control underactive bladders

November 16, 2020

Improper urinary control can lead to a number of uncomfortable situations and even diseases, if left unattended – an international team of researchers has developed “Smart Wrap,” serpentine-shaped polymer implant that snugly fits around and ensures far better control of under- or overactive bladders.

Professor Huanyu “Larry” Cheng, of Penn State University, US, briefly explained the characteristics of an underactive bladder, where urine must be forced out as the related muscle may be weakened or diseased. The wrap is thus designed to sensewhen the bladder needs emptying, and then relay a signal to an electronic thread woven through the polymer wrap, causing it to expand or contract; and features LED lights to help modulate function through what’s known as optogenetics, where pulses of light are used to control the behaviour of certain cells within the bladder.

For ease of use, the wrap is made from entirely biocompatible materials and can be implanted around the bladder without the need for glue or sutures. The researchers have so far successfully demonstrated different configurations of the implant in mouse models of underactive bladder syndrome, and hope to modify it to treat urinary incontinence brought on by overactive bladders.

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Category: Features, Technology & Devices

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