Computed tomography evaluation of pelvic organ prolapse: Techniques and applications

Harpreet K. Pannu, Rene Genadry, Howard S. Kaufman, Elliot K. Fishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Pelvic organ prolapse is a common debilitating condition affecting women. Cross-sectional imaging with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) depicts pelvic floor anatomy as well as organ prolapse and can complement or replace fluoroscopy. Occasionally, patients cannot tolerate MRI, but multiplanar visualization of pelvic floor soft tissue anatomy and organ prolapse is clinically desired. The objective of this study was to determine if computed tomography (CT) is a potential diagnostic technique in these specific situations for demonstrating organ prolapse and the pelvic floor. Methods: Seven women (mean age: 63.5 years) with clinical pelvic organ prolapse were referred for CT of the pelvis from the gynecologic and surgical clinics from November 1998 to September 2001. The CT technique included the following: insufflation of rectal air, positive oral contrast, supine position with knees flexed, and imaging at rest and straining with a single-detector scan in 5 cases (slice thickness of 3 mm, table speed of 5 mm/s, 2-mm reconstruction interval) and a multidetector scan in 1 case (detector collimation of 1 mm, slice thickness of 1.25 mm, 1-mm reconstruction interval). Axial and 3-dimensional images were interpreted. Results: Computed tomography demonstrated prolapse in 5 of 7 patients. At CT, cystocele was present in 2 of 7 patients, vault or cervical prolapse was present in 4 of 7, enterocele was present in 3 of 7, rectocele was present in 2 of 7, and levator abnormalities were present in 4 of 7. Surgery was performed in 3 of the 5 patients with positive CT findings, and prolapse was confirmed. Surgery was also performed in 1 patient with negative CT findings, and global prolapse was detected. Conclusions: Demonstration of pelvic organ prolapse and muscular pelvic floor abnormalities is feasible with CT if the patient strains adequately. In patients who cannot tolerate MRI, CT may be useful as an alternative diagnostic tool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)779-785
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of computer assisted tomography
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003



  • Computed tomography
  • Pelvic organ prolapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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