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Background: Perineal pressure due to bicycle riding has been associated with erectile dysfunction. We developed a novel method to measure the occlusive force exerted over the perineal arteries and determined perineal artery occlusion by a variety of seat designs. Methods: Doppler ultrasonography facilitated perineal artery localization and determination of the force required for perineal artery occlusion in 20 healthy men. Flexiforce® sensors were affixed over the proximal and distal aspects of the perineal arteries bilaterally. Individuals completed bicycle rides in the road- and stationary-settings with six distinct seat designs. , including those with and without an anterior “nose”. Results: The occlusion time proportion of the total ride time was calculated for each trial. The overall occlusion time proportion was 0.59 (95% CI 0.45-0.73) across all seats and settings. The “no-nose” bicycle seat and the stationary-setting demonstrated significantly lower occlusion proportion times than the traditional nose bicycle seat and road-setting, respectively. However, all bicycle seats yielded an occlusion time proportion of 0.41 or greater. Discussion: Our method of real-time, non-invasive force measurement localized to the perineal arteries may be used to validate future bicycle seat design. It also underscores the significant risk of perineal artery insufficiency in men who are avid bicyclists. This risk may be minimized by using newer “no-nose” bicycle seats.
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