Imaging of the vagina: Spectrum of disease with emphasis on mri appearance

Maria Zulfiqar, Anup Shetty, Motoyo Yano, Melissa McGettigan, Malak Itani, Muhammad Naeem, Valerie S. Ratts, Cary Lynn Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The vagina is a median fibromuscular structure of the female re-productive system that extends from the vulva inferiorly to the uterine cervix superiorly. As most vaginal lesions are detected at gynecologic examination, imaging performed for nongynecologic indications can frequently cause concomitant vaginal pathologic conditions to be overlooked. The vagina is often underevaluated at routinely performed pelvic transvaginal US because of a narrow scan area and probe positioning. MRI has progressively become the imaging method of choice for vaginal pathologic conditions, as it provides excellent soft-tissue detail with unparalleled delineation of the complex pelvic floor anatomy and helps establish a diagnosis for most vaginal diseases. It is important that radiologists use a focused approach toward understanding and correctly recognizing different vaginal entities that may otherwise go unnoticed. In this case-based review, the authors discuss the key imaging features of wide-ranging vaginal pathologic conditions, with emphasis on appearance at MRI. Knowledge of vaginal anatomy and embryology is helpful in evaluating congenital anomalies at imaging. Often seen inciden-tally, vaginal inflammation can cause diagnostic confusion. Because of its central location in the pelvis, the vagina can form fistulas to the urinary bladder, colon, rectum, or anus. Vaginal masses can be neoplastic and nonneoplastic and include a myriad of benign and malignant conditions, some of which have characteristic imaging features. Therapeutic and nontherapeutic vaginal foreign bodies include pessaries, vaginal mesh, and packing that can be seen with or without associated complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1549-1568
Number of pages20
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


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