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Radiographics. 2014 Mar-Apr;34(2):429-48. doi: 10.1148/rg.342125050.

Pelvic floor failure: MR imaging evaluation of anatomic and functional abnormalities.

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  • 1From the Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Azienda G. Brotzu, Piazza A. Ricchi 1, 09134 Cagliari, Italy.


Pelvic floor failure is a common disorder that can seriously jeopardize a woman's quality of life by causing urinary and fecal incontinence, difficult defecation, and pelvic pain. Multiple congenital and acquired risk factors are associated with pelvic floor failure, including altered collagen metabolism, female sex, vaginal delivery, menopause, and advanced age. A complex variety of fascial and muscular lesions that range from stretching, insertion detachment, denervation atrophy, and combinations of pelvic floor relaxation to pelvic organ prolapse may manifest in a single patient. Thorough preoperative assessment of pelvic floor failure is necessary to reduce the rate of relapse, which is reported to be as high as 30%. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the pelvic floor is a two-step process that includes analysis of anatomic damage on axial fast spin-echo (FSE) T2-weighted images and functional evaluation using sagittal dynamic single-shot T2-weighted sequences during straining and defecation. This article presents high-resolution FSE T2-weighted MR images that permit detailed assessment of anatomic lesions and briefly describes pelvic floor pathophysiology, associated clinical symptoms, and patterns of dysfunction seen with dynamic MR imaging sequences. MR imaging is a powerful tool that enables radiologists to comprehensively evaluate pelvic anatomic and functional abnormalities, thus helping surgeons provide appropriate treatment and avoid repeat operations.

© RSNA, 2014.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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