Variations in levator ani volume and geometry in women: The application of MR based 3D reconstruction in evaluating pelvic floor dysfunction

Lennox Hoyte, Julia R. Fielding, Eboo Versi, Charles Mamisch, Carl Kolvenbach, Ron Kikinis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: We report on the comparative 3-dimensional (3D) living female pelvic floor geometry in five women, comparing the volume, morphology, and integrity of the levator sling, and pelvic anatomic relationships among study subjects. METHODS: Five women of varying ages, parity, continence, and prolapse status were studied. Two-dimensional (2D) imaging of the pelvic floor organs was performed on each subject in the supine position. Manual segmentation techniques and solid modeling software was used to build 3D models of each patient's pelvic floor structures, which could then be viewed and measured on the computer screen. We measured levator muscle volume, posterior urethro-vesical angle, distance from the urethra to pubo-coccygeal line, and the levator plate angle. The integrity of pubo-coccygeal attachments was also recorded. RESULTS: Levator muscle volume ranged from 68ml in the nulliparous female, to 26ml in the grand multipara with severe prolapse and mild genuine stress incontinence (GSI). The second lowest volume (30ml) was in the multipara with GSI. Volumes in the parous subjects without stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse were 36 and 39ml. Pubo-coccygeal attachments were found to be torn in the 2 symptomatic subjects, and were intact in all 3 asymptomatic subjects. CONCLUSION: MR based 3D modeling is feasible and can be used in a research setting to evaluate complex anatomic relationships which may accompany pelvic floor dysfunction. The technique can also be used to evaluate levator muscle morphology and volume, as well as pelvic floor support integrity and its possible role in GSI and prolapse. We are currently conducting a larger study to validate our technique, and to better define the relationship between pelvic floor geometry and pelvic floor dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)532-539
Number of pages8
JournalArchivos Espanoles de Urologia
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2001


  • Incontinence
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Pelvic floor
  • Prolapse
  • Three-dimensional modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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