Medical imaging technique identifies very common condition in women that often goes undiagnosed

In women with lower urinary tract symptoms, a medical imaging technique called dynamic MRI allows clinicians to diagnose pelvic organ prolapse — a condition that often goes undiagnosed on static MRI and at physical examination, according to a study published in the December issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Pelvic organ prolapse is relatively common and occurs when the pelvic floor muscles become weak or damaged and can no longer support the pelvic organs. If left untreated, living with prolapse can be a challenge, both physically and emotionally, as the symptoms can disrupt day-to-day life. Dynamic MRI is performed while the patient performs a straining maneuver, such as bearing down. Static MRI is performed while the patient is at rest.

The study, performed at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, included 84 women with lower urinary tract symptoms who underwent dynamic and static MRI scans for a suspected urethra abnormality. Ten of the 84 patients were found to have an abnormality of the urethra. "However 33 patients were diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse, of whom 29 were diagnosed exclusively on dynamic imaging," said Genevieve L. Bennett, M.D., assistant professor of radiology at NYU Langone Medical Center and lead author of the study.

"Dynamic imaging allows for the detection of pelvic organ prolapse, which may not be evident at rest but only detected when the woman strains," said Bennett.

"The results of our study show that in women with lower urinary tract symptoms who undergo MRI for evaluation of a suspected urethra abnormality, the addition of dynamic MRI permits detection of pelvic organ prolapse that may not be evident on static at rest images and that may also go undetected at physical examination," she said.
This study appears in the 2009 December issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Contact: Heather Curry
hcurry@acr-arrs.org
703-390-9822
American College of Radiology / American Roentgen Ray Society