Pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence remain a clinical challenge as they have unclear pathophysiology and suboptimal treatments. These common pelvic floor disorders (PFD) are characterized by the weakening of the pelvic floor supportive tissues that are directly related to their biomechanical properties. Characterizing the biomechanical properties of the pelvic floor tissues has been the focus of recent studies and researchers are using tools that are not always well understood by clinicians. Therefore, the aim of this review is to provide an overview of the most used methods to test the passive biomechanical properties of the human pelvic floor tissues. We also summarize recent findings from studies looking into the passive properties of the pelvic floor in pelvic floor disorders using the ex vivo tensile test and emerging in vivo techniques. Together, these studies provide valuable quantitative information about the different biomechanical properties of the supportive tissues of the pelvic floor under normal and pathological conditions. Results from ex vivo tests provide valuable data that needs to be correlated to the in vivo data and the clinical manifestations of the symptoms of the PFD. As more research is conducted we will obtain an enhanced understanding of the effect of age, PFD, and treatments on the biomechanical properties of the pelvic floor. This information can contribute to better identify individuals at risk, improve clinical diagnosis, and develop new treatments to advance clinical practice. Pelvic floor disorders are characterized by the weakening of the pelvic floor tissues that is directly related to their biomechanical properties. Such properties change with age, disease, and treatments. This review provides the physician with an overview of the most used methods to investigate the passive biomechanical properties of the human pelvic floor tissues in the context of pelvic floor disorders.
Ruiz-Zapata, A. M., Feola, A. J., Heesakkers, J., de Graaf, P., Blaganje, M., & Sievert, K-D. (2018). Biomechanical Properties of the Pelvic Floor and its Relation to Pelvic Floor Disorders[Figure presented]. European Urology, Supplements, 17(3), 80-90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eursup.2017.12.002