A three-dimensional muscle activity imaging technique for assessing pelvic muscle function

Yingchun Zhang, Dan Wang, Gerald W. Timm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A novel multi-channel surface electromyography (EMG)-based threedimensional muscle activity imaging (MAI) technique has been developed by combining the bioelectrical source reconstruction approach and subject-specific finite element modeling approach. Internal muscle activities are modeled by a current density distribution and estimated from the intra-vaginal surface EMG signals with the aid of a weighted minimum norm estimation algorithm. The MAI technique was employed to minimally invasively reconstruct electrical activity in the pelvic floor muscles and urethral sphincter from multi-channel intra-vaginal surface EMG recordings. A series of computer simulations were conducted to evaluate the performance of the present MAI technique. With appropriate numerical modeling and inverse estimation techniques, we have demonstrated the capability of the MAI technique to accurately reconstruct internal muscle activities from surface EMG recordings. This MAI technique combined with traditional EMG signal analysis techniques is being used to study etiologic factors associated with stress urinary incontinence in women by correlating functional status of muscles characterized from the intravaginal surface EMG measurements with the specific pelvic muscle groups that generated these signals. The developed MAI technique described herein holds promise for eliminating the need to place needle electrodes into muscles to obtain accurate EMG recordings in some clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115018
JournalInverse Problems
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 9 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Signal Processing
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics


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