Dynamic myoplasty: Surgical transfer and stimulation of skeletal muscle for functional substitution or enhancement

Pierre Grandjean, Michael Acker, Robert Madoff, Norman S. Williams, Jean Woloszko, Carole Kantor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Dynamic myoplasty combines muscle transfer with electrical stimulation to provide contractile function that augments or replaces impaired organ function. Dynamic cardiomyoplasty was the first clinical application in which a skeletal muscle, latissimus dorsi, was transferred and stimulated to provide cardiac assistance, a function different from its original one. The problem of early muscle fatigue that was encountered in the initial implementation of the method was solved by training the muscle with electrical stimulation and thus changing its fiber composition. With intramuscular electrodes, the conditioned latissimus dorsi is stimulated in synchrony with the heart muscle. Safeguards are built into the two-channel implanted stimulator to avoid excessively high pulse rates. Clinicians report that 80% of patients with moderate to severe heart failure prior to operation showed a clinical improvement of 1.6 New York Heart Association classes. Alternative methods of providing cardiac assistance that are also being investigated include wrapping the muscle around the aorta, creating a skeletal muscle ventricle, and using the muscle to power an implantable pump. These latter techniques are still under preclinical investigation. Compared with heart transplant, cardiomyoplasty has the great advantage of not being subject to tissue rejection. The second principal application of dynamic myoplasty is treatment of fecal incontinence through creation of an electrically stimulated skeletal muscle neosphincter (ESMNS). The gracilis muscle of the leg is mobilized, wrapped around the anal canal, and conditioned with electrical stimulation to become more fatigue resistant. To achieve continence, the muscle is continuously stimulated except when the patient wishes to defecate. Overall success rates in achieving continence are 60-65%. Both cardiomyoplasty and the ESMNS technique, and their associated devices, are being refined through ongoing clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-144
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1996


  • FES
  • FNS
  • cardiomyoplasty
  • dynamic myoplasty
  • fecal incontinence
  • functional electrical stimulation
  • heart failure
  • urinary incontinence


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