Expandable Mechanical Distension Device for Hollow Organ Growth

Tech ID: 20428 / UC Case 2009-227-0


UCLA researchers have developed a device to treat patients with hollow organ deficiency (including short gut syndrome) by enhancing the organ length using mechanical force. The device is delivered into any portion of the body passage and then anchored at a specific location. Over time, the structure expands and slowly elongates the passage in a longitudinal direction.


Short gut syndrome is a condition in which patients have insufficient length of intestine to maintain normal digestion and absorption. In the United States, over 100,000 patients suffer from the disease each year. Treatment options include feeding the patient intravenously, surgically altering the intestine, or transplanting the intestine. These therapies have limited success and transplantation is limited to donor supply. Research within the past decade has suggested the possibility of treating short gut syndrome via intestinal lengthening devices.


Researchers at UCLA have developed a device to mechanically stretch out the intestine through the application of longitudinal force. The device is made of shape memory materials such as nickel-titanium or biocompatible polymers. During implantation, the device is collapsed to its minimum size, followed by deployment into the intestinal tract via a push rod. The structure then binds to a particular location, and slowly expands over a period of several weeks. In doing so, it applies longitudinal force, resulting in the lengthening of the intestine.


  • Treatment of short gut syndrome through the application of mechanical force
  • Increase in length and thickness of specific segments of the intestine and other hollow organs such as esophagus, stomach, vagina, bladder, and urethra


  • Device is composed of biocompatible material and thus has no adverse on patient health
  • Structure can be placed in any portion of the body passage using endoscopy; after several weeks, can be removed via the same method

State of Development

The invention was tested was tested in a series of experiments in rats. The device was implanted and the animals were sacrificed after 3 weeks, after which intestinal measurements were made. The measurements showed considerable increase in segment length.

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 9138336 09/22/2015 2009-227


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  • Carman, Gregory P.

Other Information


short gut syndrome, intestine, lengthening, treatment, endoscopy, longitudinal, stretching, biocompatible, medical device

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