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Keywords:

  • biofeedback;
  • electromyography;
  • incontinence;
  • levator ani;
  • pelvic floor;
  • pelvis;
  • rehabilitation

Aim

To survey commercially available intravaginal probes designed to record electromyography (EMG) from the pelvic floor muscles (PFMs), and to discuss the strengths and limitations of current technology.

Methods

The MEDLINE EMBASE, CINAHL, PEDRO, and Cochrane databases were searched for articles in which intravaginal probes were described as having been used to record EMG from the PFMs. The World Wide Web was also searched using the Google search engine to find devices used to record EMG from the PFMs. Finally, a Canadian distributer of intravaginal probes was contacted to identify intravaginal EMG probes not identified through other methods. The specifications of each probe were determined through the manufacturer or their website, and each device was acquired by the investigators to verify the specifications and electrode configuration. The devices were evaluated against international standards for recording EMG data.

Results

Sixteen different models of commercially available intravaginal probes were identified: seven from published research papers, seven using the World Wide Web, and two through communication with a distributer. The probes vary in shape, dimensions, electrode positioning, and electrode configuration, with many designs prone to recording motion artifact, crosstalk, and/or inappropriate EMG signals.

Conclusion

All commercially available intravaginal probes had deficiencies in their design such as problems with probe geometry, electrode size, location, and/or configuration. Improved intravaginal EMG probes should be developed for use in research and clinical practice. Neurourol. Urodynam. 34:104–112, 2015. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.