Clitoral anatomy in nulliparous, healthy, premenopausal volunteers using unenhanced magnetic resonance imaging

J Urol. 2005 Jun;173(6):2060-3. doi: 10.1097/01.ju.0000158446.21396.c0.


Purpose: We determined the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) characteristics of normal clitoral anatomy.

Materials and methods: A series of MRI studies of 10 healthy, nulliparous volunteers with no prior surgery and normal pelvic examination was studied and the key characteristics of clitoral anatomy were determined. A range of different magnetic resonance sequences was used without any contrast agent.

Results: The axial plane best revealed the clitoral body and its proximal continuation as the paired crura. The glans was seen more caudal than the body of the clitoris. The bulbs of the clitoris had the same signal as the rest of the clitoris in the axial plane and they related consistently to the other erectile structures. The bulbs, body and crura formed an erectile tissue cluster, namely the clitoris. In turn, the clitoris partially surrounded the urethra and vagina, forming a consistently observed tissue complex. Midline sagittal section revealed the shape of the body, although in this plane the rest of the clitoris was poorly displayed. The coronal plane revealed the relationship between the clitoral body and labia. The axial section cephalad to the clitoral body best revealed the vascular component of the neurovascular bundle to the clitoris. The fat saturation sequence particularly highlighted clitoral anatomy in healthy, premenopausal, nulliparous women.

Conclusions: Normal clitoral anatomy has been clearly demonstrated using noncontrast pelvic MRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clitoris / anatomy & histology*
  • Clitoris / innervation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Parity
  • Peripheral Nerves / anatomy & histology
  • Reference Values
  • Urethra / anatomy & histology
  • Urethra / blood supply
  • Urethra / innervation
  • Vagina / anatomy & histology
  • Vagina / blood supply
  • Vagina / innervation