A 3D Printed Implantable Device for Voiding the Bladder Using Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) Actuators

Faezeh Arab Hassani, Wendy Yen Xian Peh, Gil Gerald Lasam Gammad, Roshini Priya Mogan, Tze Kiat Ng, Tricia Li Chuen Kuo, Lay Guat Ng, Percy Luu, Shih Cheng Yen*, Chengkuo Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Underactive bladder or detrusor underactivity (DU) is defined as a reduction of contraction strength or duration of the bladder wall. Despite the serious healthcare implications of DU, there are limited solutions for affected individuals. A flexible 3D printed implantable device driven by shape memory alloys (SMA) actuators is presented here for the first time to physically contract the bladder to restore voluntary control of the bladder for individuals suffering from DU. This approach is used initially in benchtop experiments with a rubber balloon acting as a model for the rat bladder to verify its potential for voiding, and that the operating temperatures are safe for the eventual implantation of the device in a rat. The device is then implanted and tested on an anesthetized rat, and a voiding volume of more than 8% is successfully achieved for the SMA-based device without any surgical intervention or drug injection to relax the external sphincter.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1700143
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
F.A.H. and C.L. contributed in device design concept; F.A.H. contributed in device modeling, fabrication, and characterization; F.A.H. and S.-C.Y. contributed in experimental design and setup, and in vivo test data interpretation; W.Y. X.P., G.G.L.G, and R.O.M. contributed in animal surgeries, T.K.N., T.L.C.K., L.G.N., and P.L. contributed in providing idea and motivation for bladder contraction device; S.-C.Y. and C.L. were the principal investigators and contributed in study design and data interpretation. The authors would like to acknowledge financial support from following research grants: NRF-CRP10-2012-01 “Peripheral Nerve Prostheses: A Paradigm Shift in Restoring Dexterous Limb Function” and NRF-CRP8-2011-01 “Self-powered body sensor for disease management and prevention-orientated healthcare” from the National Research Foundation (NRF), Singapore, and Faculty Research Committee (FRC) grant “Thermoelectric Power Generator (TEG) Based Self-Powered ECG Plaster—System Integration (Part 3)” at the National University of Singapore.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Authors. Published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Structured keywords

  • Photonics and Quantum


  • 3D printing
  • actuators
  • flexible electronics
  • shape memory alloy
  • under active bladder


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