Image Number 14 for United States Patent #7079882.
The present invention is a method and apparatus for quantifying nerve and neural-muscular integrity related to pelvic organs or pelvic floor functions. In one embodiment, the invention is a method and device to measure muscle or nerve activity in the pelvis or pelvic floor. In a modification of this embodiment, the invention includes means for inducing an efferent nerve signal in the spinal cord or sacral nerves and then measuring the resulting nerve activity of the nerves of the pelvic floor region. In a preferred embodiment, the invention includes placing a probe in the anal canal or vagina, the probe having proximal recording electrodes along its outer surface. In one possible embodiment, the probe has a distensible sheath having recording electrodes located on its outside surface. In another embodiment, the probe has an inflatable balloon at its distal end with recording electrodes located on the outside surface of the inflatable balloon. In a further embodiment, the proximal recording electrodes will be located on the outside of the distal end of the probe itself. In yet another embodiment, a disk having recording electrodes is placed in the rectum in contact with the tissue above the submucous space. In yet another embodiment of the invention, an essentially "C" shaped clip is provided having a core made of a spring-like material.