Anatomy of the prostate: review of the different models

Eur Urol. 1991;20(4):261-8. doi: 10.1159/000471714.


Current understanding of the anatomic subdivision of the adult prostate gland is secondary to two major studies successively published by Gil Vernet in 1953 and by McNeal in 1968. In Gil Vernet's report, glandular tissue consists of a caudal gland, a cranial gland and a intermediate gland. These 3 glandular areas were defined according to the location of their glandular openings into the urethra. In McNeal's report, the urethra is taken as the primary anatomic reference point. The four glandular areas are best visualized by examination of the selected coronal plane of sections along the proximal and distal prostatic urethra. The peripheral zone is located posterolaterally, the central zone is located at the base, and the 2 lobes of the transition zone are located along the proximal urethra. Fibromuscular regions are concentrated anteromedially. Most of the anatomic regions are similar between the two models, however, in McNeal's model, accuracies concerning the boundaries of the central zone and transition zone ultimately make this model superior for the study of both the physiology and pathology of the prostate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Prostate / anatomy & histology*
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatitis / pathology
  • Urethra / anatomy & histology