MRI of the Male Pelvic Floor

Radiographics. 2019 Nov-Dec;39(7):2003-2022. doi: 10.1148/rg.2019190064.


The pelvic floor is a complex structure that supports the pelvic organs and provides resting tone and voluntary control of the urethral and anal sphincters. Dysfunction of or injury to the pelvic floor can lead to gastrointestinal, urinary, and sexual dysfunction. The prevalence of pelvic floor disorders is much lower in men than in women, and because of this, the majority of the published literature pertaining to MRI of the pelvic floor is oriented toward evaluation of the female pelvic floor. The male pelvic floor has sex-specific differences in anatomy and pathophysiologic disorders. Despite these differences, static and dynamic MRI features of these disorders, specifically gastrointestinal disorders, are similar in both sexes. MRI and MR defecography can be used to evaluate anorectal disorders related to the pelvic floor. MRI can also be used after prostatectomy to help predict the risk of postsurgical incontinence, to evaluate postsurgical function by using dynamic voiding MR cystourethrography, and subsequently, to assess causes of incontinence treatment failure. Increased tone of the pelvic musculature in men secondary to chronic pain can lead to sexual dysfunction. This article reviews normal male pelvic floor anatomy and how it differs from the female pelvis; MRI techniques for imaging the male pelvis; and urinary, gastrointestinal, and sexual conditions related to abnormalities of pelvic floor structures in men.Online supplemental material is available for this article.©RSNA, 2019.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Video-Audio Media
  • Webcast

MeSH terms

  • Anal Canal / diagnostic imaging
  • Defecography
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Genitalia, Male / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Ligaments / diagnostic imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Pelvic Floor / anatomy & histology
  • Pelvic Floor / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostatectomy
  • Rectal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / diagnostic imaging
  • Urination Disorders / diagnostic imaging