Novel Observations of Female Genital Anatomy in Classic Bladder Exstrophy Using 3-Dimensional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Reconstruction

Karl S. Benz, Emily Dunn, Meiyappan Solaiyappan, Mahir Maruf, Matthew Kasprenski, John Jayman, Jason E. Michaud, James Facciola, John Phillip Gearhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: Understanding the distinct female anatomy in classic bladder exstrophy is crucial for optimal reconstructive and functional outcomes. We present novel quantitative anatomical data in females with classic bladder exstrophy before primary closure. Materials and Methods: 3-Dimensional reconstruction was performed in patients undergoing pelvic magnetic resonance imaging, and pelvic anatomy was characterized, including measurements of the vagina, cervix and erectile bodies. Results: We examined magnetic resonance imaging of 5 females (mean age 5.5 months) with classic bladder exstrophy and 4 age matched controls (mean age 5.8 months). Mean distance between the anal verge and vaginal introitus was greater in patients with classic bladder exstrophy (2.43 cm) than in controls (1.62 cm). Mean total vaginal length in patients with classic bladder exstrophy was half that of controls (1.64 cm vs 3.39 cm). All 4 controls had posterior facing cervical ora, while 4 of 5 females with exstrophy had anterior facing cervical ora located in the anterior vaginal wall. Lateral deviation of the cervical ora was also seen in all 5 patients with classic bladder exstrophy but in only 1 control. Clitoral body length was comparable in both groups (26.2 mm and 28.0 mm). However, the anterior cavernosa-to-posterior (pelvic rami associated) cavernosa ratio was much greater in patients with classic bladder exstrophy (6.4) compared to controls (2.5). Conclusions: This study uncovers the uniquely novel finding that contrary to their male counterparts, females with classic bladder exstrophy have the majority of the clitoral body anterior to the pelvic attachment. This discovery has surgical and embryological implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Urology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • bladder exstrophy
  • female
  • genitalia
  • magnetic resonance imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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