Three-dimensional MRI of the male urethrae with implanted artificial sphincters: initial results.
ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to develop a method for simultaneous 3D visualization of a new type of artificial urethral sphincter (AUS) and adjacent urinary structures. Serial MR tomograms were acquired from seven men after AUS implantation. 3D reconstruction was performed by thresholding original (positive) and inverted (negative) image intensity and by subsequently fusing positive and negative images. Results show that the bladder, cuff and balloons of the AUS of originally high intensity were imaged in 3D by thresholding the positive datasets. The urethrae and corpora cavernosa penis of originally low intensity were displayed in 3D by thresholding the negative datasets. Fusion of the positive and negative datasets allowed simultaneous visualization of the AUS complex and adjacent urinary structures. All the structures of interest were also clearly seen by interactive multiplanar reformatting. Coronal tomographic datasets provided better 3D and reformatted 2D images than sagittal and transverse datasets. This technique offers a simple means for evaluating the complex urethral anatomy and the AUS, and has potential for improved 3D visualization of many other complex morphological and pathological conditions.