The development of robotic capsule endoscopes (RCEs) is one avenue presently investigated by multiple research groups to minimize invasiveness and enhance outcomes of enteroscopic procedures. Understanding the biomechanical response of the small bowel to RCEs is needed for design optimization of these devices. In previous work, the authors developed, characterized, and tested the migrating motor complex force sensor (MFS), a novel sensor for quantifying the contact forces per unit of axial length exerted by the myenteron on a solid bolus. This work is a continuation, in which the MFS is used to quantify the contractile strength in the small intestine proximal, middle, and distal regions of five live porcine models. The MFSs are surgically implanted in a generally anesthetized animal, and force data from 5 min of dwell time are analyzed. The mean myenteric contact force from all porcine models and locations within the bowel is 1.9 ± 1.0 N cm−1. Examining the results based on the small bowel region shows a statistically significant strengthening trend in the contractile force from proximal to middle to distal with mean forces of 1.2 ± 0.5, 1.9 ± 0.9, and 2.3 ± 1.0 N cm−1, respectively (mean ± one standard deviation). Quantification of the contact force against a solid bolus provides developers of RCEs with a valuable, experimentally derived parameter of the intraluminal environment.
Small intestineContact forceIn vivoMigrating motor complex force sensor