Quantification of Levator Ani Hiatus Enlargement by Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Males and Females with Pelvic Organ Prolapse.


Diagnostic Imaging Centre, Iniziativa Medica; [Email]


Here we present a protocol to examine the levator ani hiatus in males and females with pelvic organ prolapse, during the Valsalva maneuver and while evacuating acoustic gel, using a horizontally oriented 1.5 T magnetic resonance (MR) scanner. On midsagittal images, the vertical distance of pelvic organs is measured in millimeters relative to the hymen plane (female) and to the lower border of the symphysis pubis (male), preceded by - (above) or + ( below) signs. On axial images, the levator ani area is calculated in square centimeters with a free-hand tracing method from three key images, passing through the midsymphysis (level I), tangential to the lower border of the symphysis (level II), and at the maximal anterior rectal wall bulging (level III). Areas at rest and strained are compared to find evidence of a percentage of increase. The purpose is to provide objective evidence of the maximal extent of pelvic organs descent and hiatus enlargement without the interference of foreign objects or the examiner's proximity, so as to overcome the limitations of pelvic examination and transperineal sonography (i.e., subjectivity and sex-related limitations [female only]).

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