Quantitative Characterization of the Prostatic Urethra Using MRI: Implications for Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms in Patients with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Academic Radiology




Benign prostatic hyperplasia; Lower urinary tract symptoms; MRI; Prostate; Prostatic urethra


© 2020 Introduction: The aim of this study was to perform a quantitative assessment of the prostate anatomy with a focus on the relation of prostatic urethral anatomic variation to urinary symptoms. Methods: This retrospective study involved patients undergoing magnetic resonance imaging for prostate cancer who were also assessed for lower urinary tract symptoms. Volumetric segmentations were utilized to derive the in vivo prostatic urethral length and urethral trajectory in coronal and sagittal planes using a piece-wise cubic spline function to derive the angle of the urethra within the prostate. Association of anatomical factors with urinary symptoms was evaluated using ordinal univariable and multivariable logistic regression with IPSS score cutoffs of ≤7, 8–19, and >20 to define mild, moderate, and severe symptoms, respectively. Results: A total of 423 patients were included. On univariable analysis, whole prostate volume, transition zone volume, prostatic urethral length, urethral angle, and retrourethral volume were all significantly associated with worse urinary symptoms. On multivariable analysis prostatic urethral length was associated with urinary symptoms with a normalized odds ratio of 1.5 (95% confidence interval 1.0–2.2, p = 0.04). In a subset analysis of patients on alpha blockers, maximal urethral angle, transition zone volume as well as urethral length were all associated with worse urinary symptoms. Conclusion: Multiple parameters were associated with worse urinary symptoms on univariable analysis, but only prostatic urethral length was associated with worse urinary symptoms on multivariable analysis. This study demonstrates the ability of quantitative assessment of prostatic urethral anatomy to predict lower urinary tract symptoms.

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