The female pelvis is a complex anatomical region comprising the pelvic organs, muscles, neurovascular supplies, and fasciae. The anatomy of the pelvic floor and its fascial components are currently poorly described and misunderstood. This systematic search and review aimed to explore and summarize the current state of knowledge on the fascial anatomy of the pelvic floor in women.
Methods: A systematic search was performed using Medline and Scopus databases. A synthesis of the findings with a critical appraisal was subsequently carried out. The risk of bias was assessed with the Anatomical Quality Assurance Tool.
Results: A total of 39 articles, involving 1192 women, were included in the review. Although the perineal membrane, tendinous arch of pelvic fascia, pubourethral ligaments, rectovaginal fascia, and perineal body were the most frequently described structures, uncertainties were identified in micro- and macro-anatomy. The risk of bias was scored as low in 16 studies (41%), unclear in 3 studies (8%), and high in 20 studies (51%).
Conclusions: This review provides the best available evidence on the female anatomy of the pelvic floor fasciae. Future studies should be conducted to clarify the discrepancies highlighted and accurately describe the pelvic floor fasciae.
Keywords: anatomy; connective tissue; fascia; pelvic floor; systematic review; women.