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research-article

Swine Vagina under Planar Biaxial Loads: An Investigation of Large Deformations and Tears

[+] Author and Article Information
Jeffrey McGuire

STRETCH Lab, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, 24061
jeffmcg8@vt.edu

Steven D. Abramowitch

Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15261
sdast9@pitt.edu

Spandan Maiti

Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15261
spm54@pitt.edu

Raffaella De Vita

STRETCH Lab, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, 24061
devita@vt.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4042437 History: Received June 08, 2018; Revised December 03, 2018

Abstract

Vaginal tears are very common and can lead to hemorrhaging, fecal incontinence, urinary incontinence, and dyspareunia. Despite the complication of vaginal tears on women's health, there are no studies on the tear behavior of vaginal tissue. In this study, planar equi-biaxial tests on square specimens of swine vaginal tissue, with sides oriented along the longitudinal direction (LD) and circumferential direction (CD), were conducted. Three groups of specimens were tested: the NT group (n=9), which had no pre-imposed tear, the LT group (n=9) and the CT group (n=9), which had central pre-imposed elliptically-shaped tears with major axes oriented in the LD and the CD, respectively. Strains were measured for the NT group using the digital image correlation technique and axial displacements of hook clamps were measured for the NT, LT, and CT groups in the LD and CD. The vaginal tissue was found to be highly nonlinear and somewhat anisotropic. Up to normalized axial hook displacements of 1.15, no tears were observed to propagate, suggesting that the vagina offers resistance to tear. The size of the tears for the CT group increased significantly more than the size of the tears for the LT group (p=0.003). The microstructural organization of the vagina is the likely culprit for its tear resistance and orientation-dependent tear behavior. Knowledge on the structure-function relationship of the vagina is needed to guide the development of new methods for preventing the severe complications of tearing.

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