MR imaging of the prostate and adjacent anatomic structures before, during, and after ejaculation: qualitative and quantitative evaluation

Radiology. 2014 May;271(2):452-60. doi: 10.1148/radiol.14131374. Epub 2014 Feb 1.


Purpose: To determine the possibility of obtaining high-quality magnetic resonance (MR) images before, during, and immediately after ejaculation and detecting measurable changes in quantitative MR imaging parameters after ejaculation.

Materials and methods: In this prospective, institutional review board-approved, HIPAA-compliant study, eight young healthy volunteers (median age, 22.5 years), after providing informed consent, underwent MR imaging while masturbating to the point of ejaculation. A 1.5-T MR imaging unit was used, with an eight-channel surface coil and a dynamic single-shot fast spin-echo sequence. In addition, a quantitative MR imaging protocol that allowed calculation of T1, T2, and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values was applied before and after ejaculation. Volumes of the prostate and seminal vesicles (SV) were calculated by using whole-volume segmentation on T2-weighted images, both before and after ejaculation. Pre- and postejaculation changes in quantitative MR parameters and measured volumes were evaluated by using the Wilcoxon signed rank test with Bonferroni adjustment.

Results: There was no significant change in prostate volumes on pre- and postejaculation images, while the SV contracted by 41% on average (median, 44.5%; P = .004). No changes before and after ejaculation were observed in T1 values or in T2 and ADC values in the central gland, while T2 and ADC values were significantly reduced in the peripheral zone by 12% and 14%, respectively (median, 13% and 14.5%, respectively; P = .004).

Conclusion: Successful dynamic MR imaging of ejaculation events and the ability to visualize internal sphincter closure, passage of ejaculate, and significant changes in SV volumes were demonstrated. Significant changes in peripheral zone T2 and ADC values were observed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ejaculation / physiology*
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostate / anatomy & histology
  • Prostate / physiology*