Novel Application of Photogrammetry to Quantify Fascicle Orientations of Female Cadaveric Pelvic Floor Muscles

Ann Biomed Eng. 2021 Aug;49(8):1888-1899. doi: 10.1007/s10439-021-02747-6. Epub 2021 Feb 26.


Although critical for understanding and simulating pelvic floor muscle function and pathophysiology, the fascicle arrangements of the coccygeus and levator ani remain mostly undetermined. We performed close-range photogrammetry on cadaveric pelvic floor muscles to robustly quantify surface fascicle orientations. The pelvic floor muscles of 5 female cadavers were exposed through anatomic dissections, removed en bloc, and photographed from every required angle. Overlapping images were mapped onto in silico geometries and muscle fascicles were traced manually. Tangent vectors were calculated along each trace; interpolated to define continuous, 3D vector fields; and projected onto axial and sagittal planes to calculate angles with respect to the pubococcygeal line. Contralateral and ipsilateral pelvic floor muscles were compared within each donor (Kuiper's tests) and using mean values from all donors (William-Watsons tests). Contralateral muscles and all but one ipsilateral muscle pair differed significantly within each donor (p < 0.001). When mean values were considered collectively, no contralateral or ipsilateral statistical differences were found but all muscles compared differed by more than 10° on average. Close-range photogrammetry and subsequent analyses robustly quantified surface fascicle orientations of the pelvic floor muscles. The continuous, 3D vector fields provide data necessary for improving simulations of the female pelvic floor muscles.

Keywords: Close-range photogrammetry; Coccygeus; Iliococcygeus; Muscle fascicles; Pubovisceralis; Vector fields.

MeSH terms

  • Cadaver
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pelvic Floor / diagnostic imaging*
  • Photogrammetry*