Dynamic study of the female levator ani muscle using MRI 3D vectorial modeling - Abstract

URDIA EA 4465, Anatomie, Université Paris Descartes, 45, rue des Saints Pères-75006, Paris.


The levator ani muscle has a major role in the female pelvic floor, and is involved in the pathophysiology of pelvic prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. We conducted an anatomical and morphological study of this muscle using dynamic 3D vectorial reconstruction MRI, in order to analyze the contraction of two major components of the levator ani: the iliococcygeus and pubococcygeus.

Three volunteer healthy continent nulliparous women aged from 19 to 22 underwent dynamic pelvic MRI. Coronal T2-weighted pelvic images were obtained in the supine position, at rest, holding back, and during Valsalva stress effort. 3D vectorial models were reconstructed by manual segmentation of the source images, and were set up on bony anatomic marks. Iliococcygeus and pubococcygeus volumes were measured in the three positions. Volumetrics, displacement and dynamic morphing changes were analyzed with 3D vectorial animation software.

The urogenital hiatus extended more holding back (mean +4.31 mm) than on effort (mean +2.78 mm). The iliococcygeus lowered (mean -3.95 mm) and deviated outward (mean +3.01 mm).

The basic tone of the iliococcygeus muscle gives it a dome shape, and its reflex contraction against abdominal strain ensures anal and urinary continence The levator ani is more than a pelvic diaphragm: it is a truly dynamic pelvic floor. Its points of support on the stiff osseous frame allow it to retain the pelvic organs. The levator ani muscle seems to prevent anal prolapse during stress strain.

Article in French.

Written by:
Delmas V, Ami O, Iba-Zizen MT.   Are you the author?

Reference: Bull Acad Natl Med. 2010 Jun;194(6):969-80; discussion 981-2. 

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 21513132

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