Biometry of the pubovisceral muscle and levator hiatus assessed by three-dimensional ultrasound in females with bladder exstrophy-epispadias complex after functional reconstruction

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Jul;34(1):98-103. doi: 10.1002/uog.6429.


Objective: The congenital bony and musculoskeletal defect of the pelvis in bladder exstrophy-epispadias complex (BEEC) highly predisposes females to uterine prolapse. There is a paucity of knowledge on the anatomy of the pelvic soft tissue structures following surgery. The aim of this study was to investigate with transperineal three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound the pubovisceral muscle in females with BEEC who had undergone surgical reconstruction in childhood.

Methods: In a cross-sectional observational study we examined 12 Caucasian female BEEC patients, mean age 19.9 (range, 15.5-27.4) years, from a single center after a single-stage functional reconstruction with closure of the anterior pelvic ring. As a control group we used 13 Caucasian nulligravidae. 3D transperineal ultrasound volumes were acquired with the patient at rest in the supine position and with an empty bladder, and established pelvic floor parameters were measured. Analysis was conducted offline by two independent investigators.

Results: No statistical difference between the BEEC patients and the control group was observed in the anteroposterior diameter or the area of the levator hiatus, or in the maximal thickness of the levator muscle. However, significantly greater values were observed in BEEC patients in the transverse diameter of the levator hiatus (mean, 4.31 vs. 3.81 cm, P = 0.046) and in the levator angle (mean, 80.1 vs. 70.0 degrees, P = 0.040). The measurements obtained in the control group were consistent with those previously reported in the literature.

Conclusions: This is the first study showing that transperineal 3D ultrasound can be used for the assessment of BEEC patients after functional reconstruction. Biometric pelvic floor parameters may be useful in the long-term follow-up of BEEC patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biometry / methods
  • Bladder Exstrophy / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bladder Exstrophy / surgery
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Epispadias / diagnostic imaging*
  • Epispadias / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Pelvic Floor / anatomy & histology
  • Pelvic Floor / diagnostic imaging
  • Pelvic Floor / surgery
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Ultrasonography
  • Urinary Bladder / diagnostic imaging
  • Urinary Bladder / surgery
  • Uterine Prolapse / diagnostic imaging*
  • Young Adult