Introduction and hypothesis: This study aimed to assess the individual and interactive effects of delivery mode and age on the function of the external anal sphincter (EAS) by analyzing the motor unit properties with intramuscular electromyography (EMG). Results are expected to improve the understanding of delivery-related occult obstetric EAS injuries and its development over the aging process and further support early clinical detection and intervention. Methods: A total of 49 postpartum women were recruited into four test groups according to their age and delivery mode: young vaginal delivery (Y-VD), elderly vaginal delivery (E-VD), young cesarean section (Y-CS), and elderly cesarean section (E-CS) groups. Anorectal ultrasonography, manometry, and intramuscular EMG were employed for comprehensive evaluation of EAS function. Results: No significant difference in anorectal ultrasonography and most manometry measurements was associated with delivery age or mode. Intramuscular EMG, however, revealed a statistically significant difference in the characteristics of motor unit potentials (MUPs), including duration, turns, phases, and multiphase wave ratio between four subject groups. No significant interaction effect between age and delivery mode was found. Conclusions: Delivery mode and age have a significant effect on the neuromuscular function of the EAS, suggesting a potential protectiveness of cesarean section against impairment to the EAS. Our results do not provide significant evidence regarding the interaction effect of delivery mode and age; further investigations are needed to confirm this conclusion.
- Delivery mode
- External anal sphincter
- Intramuscular electromyography
- Motor unit potential analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology