microbiologist at laboratory work

Lab-engineered Tissue Is Creating New Digestive Tract Treatments

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have reported success with lab-engineered tissue replacements to treat digestive system diseases.  The research team demonstrated the effectiveness of growing anal sphincters in a lab to treat an animal model for fecal incontinence. The success comes after the researchers reported success in implanting human-engineered intestines in rodents.  “Results from both projects are promising and exciting,” said Khalil N. Bitar, senior researcher on both projects, in a press release. “Our goal is to use a patient’s own cells to engineer replacement tissue in the lab for devastating conditions that affect the digestive system.”  Read more.

Source: Medical Design & Outsourcing, August 10, 2017

stem cells

Engineering Digestive System Tissues: Significant Progress

Researchers at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine have reached important milestones in their quest to engineer replacement tissue in the lab to treat digestive system conditions — from infants born with too-short bowels to adults with inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, or fecal incontinence.  Reporting today in Stem Cells Translational Medicine, the research team verified the effectiveness of lab-grown anal sphincters to treat a large animal model for fecal incontinence, an important step before advancing to studies in humans. And last month in Tissue Engineering, the team reported success implanting human-engineered intestines in rodents. Read more.

Source: Science Daily, July 5, 2017

Artificial Sphincter Surgery for Urinary Incontinence

male artificial sphincter

Drawing of  a male artificial sphincter to control urination.

Everyone has a pelvic floor: it is a hammock of muscles that lies in your pelvis, supporting the organs (bowel, bladder, and – in women – the uterus) in that area and keeping them in the correct place. In your pelvic floor are a few muscles that are called “sphincters”. There is an internal and external sphincter surrounding the urethra (the tube that takes urine from the bladder out of your body). These urinary sphincters naturally contract around the urethra and keep urine inside your body until you relax the sphincters at a socially-acceptable time (generally when you’re using a toilet). As the urge to urinate increases, you can voluntarily increase the contraction of your sphincters to gain more control.Continue reading

Artificial Sphincter Surgery for Bowel Incontinence

external sphincter muscle squeezing

This shows the external sphincter muscle properly squeezing and keeping fecal matter inside until he proper time.

Everyone has a pelvic floor: it is a hammock of muscles that lies in your pelvis, supporting your internal organs in that area (bowel, bladder, and – in women – the uterus) and keeping them in the correct place. In your pelvic floor are a few muscles that are called “sphincters”.  There is an internal and external sphincter surrounding the anus. These anal sphincter muscles naturally contract around the rectum and keep the fecal matter inside your body until you relax the sphincters at a socially-acceptable time (generally when you’re using a toilet).  As the urge to defecate increases, you can contract (or squeeze) your sphincters to gain more control.  When you cannot control these sphincter muscles, bowel incontinence (also called accidental bowel leakage or fecal incontinence) may happen.

Surgery to implant an artificial sphincter involves placing an inflatable sphincter around the anus. A pump (placed inside the body in the labia or scrotum) is used to deflate the device, allowing fecal matter to pass through at the appropriate time. The device automatically refills after ten minutes, once again closing off the rectum.Continue reading

Living with Spina Bifida

My Story – Submitted by: Anonymous

I was born with spina bifida. I was also one of the lucky ones – I could walk, even run, and never suffered from hydroencephalitis (water on the brain). I am also urinary and fecal incontinent.

At the age of 3 years, I had a urinary diversion surgery called an illial [ileal] loop done. I wore a urinary bag until I was 18. Kids can be cruel. In addition to the normal teasing that goes with growing up, I also had to deal with being shunned due to the bag springing leaks, as well as regular accidents from the bowel incontinence. You can probably imagine how bad things got. When I was 18, an artificial sphincter was installed on my bladder – I still had to self-catheterize to pee, but at least I didn’t have to wear that damned bag.

Continue reading