Architecture of structures in the urogenital triangle of young adult males: comparison with females

Yi Wu, Noshir F. Dabhoiwala, Jaco Hagoort, Jill P. J. M. Hikspoors, Li-Wen Tan, Greet Mommen, Xin Hu, Shao-Xiang Zhang*, Wouter H. Lamers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

The fibro-muscular architecture of the urogenital triangle remains contentious. Reasons are small size of the constituting structures and poor visibility with most imaging methods. We reinvestigated the area in serial sections of three males (21-38years old) of the American and Chinese Visible Human Projects and two 26-week-old male fetuses, and compared the findings with earlier observations in females. The mass of the levator ani muscle was approximatelytwofold smaller and its funnel shape steeper in males than females. In the levator hiatus, a strand of the smooth longitudinal muscle layer of the rectum, the rectourethral (RU) muscle', extended anteriorly from the anorectal bend to the penile bulb. Fibrous tissue that formed in the inferior reach of the fetal RU muscle identified the location of the developing perineal body (PB) and divided the muscle into posterior rectoperineal' and anterior deep perineal' portions. In males, the PB remained small and bipartite, so that the RU muscle presented as an undivided midline structure. The well-developed female PB, instead, intertwined with the deep perineal muscle and both structures passed the vagina bilaterally to form the perineal membrane in the posterior portion of the urogenital triangle. The urethral rhabdosphincter extended in the anterior portion of the urogenital triangle between the penile bulb inferiorly and the bladder neck superiorly, and consisted of a well-developed circular membranous' portion with bilateral posteroinferior wings' and a thinner prostatic' portion on the prostate anterior side. In men, muscles occupy the urogenital triangle, but additional tightening of the locally fibrous adipose tissue by the superficial transverse perineal muscle appears necessary to generate functional support in women. An interactive 3D pdf file with these anatomical details (available online) should allow more accurate interpretation of ultrasound, computed tomography and magnetic resonance images.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-459
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Volume233
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

Keywords

  • deep perineal muscle
  • levator ani muscle
  • perineal body
  • rectoperineal muscle
  • rectourethral muscle
  • sexual dimorphism
  • urethral sphincter
  • EXTERNAL URINARY SPHINCTER
  • URETHRAL SPHINCTER
  • RECTOURETHRALIS MUSCLE
  • FETAL-DEVELOPMENT
  • CLINICAL-RELEVANCE
  • PERINEAL MEMBRANE
  • ELDERLY JAPANESE
  • PELVIC FLOOR
  • ANATOMY
  • COMPLEX

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