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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 3, Issue 2, Pages 229-242
Research Article

Mechanical Enterogenesis - A Review

Rebecca Stark1 and James C. Y. Dunn2

1Division of Pediatric Surgery, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California, USA
2Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California, USA

Received 1 April 2011; Accepted 1 January 2012

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Mechanical enterogenesis is a novel method of lengthening pre-existing intestine with distractive force. The application of mechanical force on small intestine aims to induce cellular proliferation and ultimately increase bowel length. This has been investigated primarily for the treatment of short bowel syndrome (SBS). Research has been ongoing for well over a decade in this arena and a multitude of advances have been made, both in the understanding of the biology behind force induced cellular proliferation and in the basic mechanics of force delivery systems. Important experimental models have been developed for studying this phenomenon and the collaboration of engineers and medical researchers has lead to the design of several devices that successfully lengthen small intestine. This has catapulted the field forward and there may soon be a device suitable for medical use in humans. This review analyses the past, present and future of mechanical enterogenesis.