Quantitative anal sphincter electromyography in primiparous women with anal incontinence

W. Thomas Gregory, Jau Shin Lou, Kimberly Simmons, Amanda L. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether evidence of denervation/reinnervation of the external anal sphincter is associated with anal incontinence symptoms immediately after delivery. Study Design: After a first vaginal delivery, 42 women completed an anal incontinence questionnaire. They also underwent concentric needle electromyography of the external anal sphincter. For each subject, motor unit action potential and interference pattern parameters were determined. Results: For the motor unit action potential, no difference was observed between patients with and without anal incontinence symptoms (t-test). For the interference pattern, the amplitude/turn was greater in subjects with fecal urgency (318 ± 48 [SD] μV) and fecal incontinence (332 ± 48 μV), compared with those without fecal urgency (282 ± 38 μV) and fecal incontinence (286 ± 41 μV; P = .02, t-test). Conclusion: In this group of postpartum women with mild anal incontinence symptoms, interference pattern analysis shows evidence of denervation and subsequent reinnervation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550.e1-550.e6
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008


  • anal incontinence
  • anal sphincter
  • postpartum period
  • quantitative electromyography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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