Tensile properties of the rectal and sigmoid colon: a comparative analysis of human and porcine tissue

Springerplus. 2015 Mar 26;4:142. doi: 10.1186/s40064-015-0922-x. eCollection 2015.


For many patients, rectal catheters are an effective means to manage bowel incontinence. Unfortunately, the incidence of catheter leakage in these patients remains troublingly high. Matching the mechanical properties of the catheter and the surrounding tissue may improve the catheter seal and reduce leakage. However, little data is available on the mechanical properties of colorectal tissue. Therefore, our group examined the mechanical properties of colorectal tissue obtained from both a common animal model and humans. Uniaxial tension tests were performed to determine the effects of location, orientation, and species (porcine and human) on bowel tissue tensile mechanical properties. Bowel tissue ultimate strength, elongation at failure, and elastic modulus were derived from these tests and statistically analyzed. Ultimate tensile strength (0.58 MPa, 0.87 MPa), elongation at failure (113.19%, 62.81%), and elastic modulus (1.83 MPa, 5.18 MPa) for porcine and human samples respectively exhibited significant differences based on species. Generally, human tissues were stronger and less compliant than their porcine counterparts. Furthermore, harvest site location and testing orientation significantly affected several mechanical properties in porcine derived tissues, but very few in human tissues. The data suggests that porcine colorectal tissue does not accurately model human colorectal tissue mechanical properties. Ultimately, the tensile properties reported herein may be used to help guide the design of next generation rectal catheters with tissue mimetic properties, as well as aid in the development of physical and computer based bowel models.

Keywords: Colorectal tissue; Human tissue; Mechanical properties; Porcine Tissue; Tensile properties.