Perineal body anatomy in living women: 3-dimensional analysis using thin-slice magnetic resonance imaging

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Nov;203(5):494.e15-21. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2010.06.008.


Objective: The objective of the study was to describe a framework for visualizing the perineal body's complex anatomy using thin-slice magnetic resonance (MR) imaging.

Study design: Two millimeter thick MR images were acquired in 11 women with normal pelvic support and no incontinence/prolapse symptoms. Anatomic structures were analyzed in axial, sagittal, and coronal slices. Three-dimensional (3-D) models were generated from these images.

Results: Three distinct perineal body regions are visible on MR imaging: (1) a superficial region at the level of the vestibular bulb, (2) a midregion at the proximal end of the superficial transverse perineal muscle, and (3) a deep region at the level of the midurethra and puborectalis muscle. Structures are best visualized on axial scans, whereas craniocaudal relationships are appreciated on sagittal scans. The 3-D model further clarifies interrelationships.

Conclusion: Advances in MR technology allow visualization of perineal body anatomy in living women and development of 3-D models that enhance our understanding of its 3 different regions: superficial, mid, and deep.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvic Floor / anatomy & histology*
  • Perineum / anatomy & histology*