Automatic detection of motor unit innervation zones of the external anal sphincter by multichannel surface EMG

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2014 Dec;24(6):860-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2014.05.003. Epub 2014 May 24.


A method to detect automatically the location of innervation zones (IZs) from 16-channel surface EMG (sEMG) recordings from the external anal sphincter (EAS) muscle is presented in order to guide episiotomy during child delivery. The new algorithm (2DCorr) is applied to individual motor unit action potential (MUAP) templates and is based on bidimensional cross correlation between the interpolated image of each MUAP template and two images obtained by flipping upside-down (around a horizontal axis) and left-right (around a vertical axis) the original one. The method was tested on 640 simulated MUAP templates of the sphincter muscle and compared with previously developed algorithms (Radon Transform, RT; Template Match, TM). Experimental signals were detected from the EAS of 150 subjects using an intra-anal probe with 16 equally spaced circumferential electrodes. The results of the three algorithms were compared with the actual IZ location (simulated signal) and with IZ location provided by visual analysis (VA) (experimental signals). For simulated signals, the inter quartile error range (IQR) between the estimated and the actual locations of the IZ was 0.20, 0.23, 0.42, and 2.32 interelectrode distances (IED) for the VA, 2DCorr, RT and TM methods respectively.

Keywords: Episiotomy; External anal sphincter; Innervation zone; Multichannel sEMG.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Anal Canal / physiology*
  • Electromyography / instrumentation*
  • Electromyography / methods*
  • Humans
  • Microelectrodes*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Recruitment, Neurophysiological* / physiology