Cross-sectional imaging of the female urethra: Technique and results

Srinivasa R. Prasad, Christine O. Menias, Vamsi R. Narra, William D. Middleton, Govind Mukundan, Nayer Samadi, Jay P. Heiken, Cary L. Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Clinical assessment of women with urethral symptoms is difficult, necessitating further evaluation with imaging. Urethrography provides limited information on luminal abnormalities of the urethra. Recent advances in ultrasound (US) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging have dramatically improved evaluation of the female urethra, clarifying findings at physical examination and providing accurate road maps for surgeons. High-resolution transvaginal US, transperineal US, and transurethral US are reliable techniques for diagnosis and characterization of urethral abnormalities. High-resolution multiplanar MR imaging with phased-array pelvic and endovaginal coils demonstrates the urethral anatomy in greater detail. In women with urethral diverticula, US and MR imaging demonstrate the number of diverticula and the location, size, configuration, and possible contents of the sac. Most important, the position of the neck of the diverticulum may be identified for the surgeon. Imaging features do not allow differentiation between histologic subtypes of urethral carcinoma; the diagnosis is established with histopathologic examination. Periurethral cysts do not communicate with the urethra and therefore can often be differentiated from urethral diverticula at endocavitary MR imaging. High-resolution multiplanar US and MR imaging allow comprehensive evaluation of abnormalities of the female urethra.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-761
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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