Functional imaging of the pelvic floor

Dean D.T. Maglinte, Clive I. Bartram, Douglass A. Hale, Jean Park, Marc D. Kohli, Bruce W. Robb, Stefania Romano, John C. Lappas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The clinical treatment of patients with anorectal and pelvic floor dysfunction is often difficult. Dynamic cystocolpoproctography (DCP) has evolved from a method of evaluating the anorectum for functional disorders to its current status as a functional method of evaluating the global pelvic floor for defecatory disorders and pelvic organ prolapse. It has both high observer accuracy and a high yield of positive diagnoses. Clinicians find it a useful diagnostic tool that can alter management decisions from surgical to medical and vice versa in many cases. Functional radiography provides the maximum stress to the pelvic floor, resulting in levator ani relaxation accompanied by rectal emptying-which is needed to diagnose defecatory disorders. It also provides organ-specific quantificative information about female pelvic organ prolapse-information that usually can only be inferred by means of physical examination. The application of functional radiography to the assessment of defecatory disorders and pelvic organ prolapse has highlighted the limitations of physical examination. It has become clear that pelvic floor disorders rarely occur in isolation and that global pelvic floor assessment is necessary. Despite the advances in other imaging methods, DCP has remained a practical, cost-effective procedure for the evaluation of anorectal and pelvic floor dysfunction. In this article, the authors describe the technique they use when performing DCP, define the radiographic criteria used for diagnosis, and discuss the limitations and clinical utility of DCP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-39
Number of pages17
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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