Histomorphological analysis of the urogenital diaphragm in elderly women: a cadaver study

  • C. Betschart
  • D. Scheiner
  • C. Maake
  • M. Vich
  • L. Slomianka
  • D. Fink
  • D. Perucchini
Original Article


The objective of this study was to describe the histomorphological structure of the urogenital diaphragm in elderly women using a modern morphometric procedure. Biopsies were taken from the posterior margin of the urogenital diaphragm of 22 female cadavers (mean age, 87 years) using a 60-mm punch. Hematoxylin/eosin and Goldner sections were analyzed with the Cavalieri estimator. The mean thickness of the urogenital diaphragm was 5.5 mm. The main component was connective tissue. All biopsies contained smooth muscle. Eighteen biopsies contained more smooth muscle than striated muscle. In six of 22 biopsies, no striated muscle was found. The ratio of striated to smooth muscle to connective tissue was 1:2.3:13.3. Muscle fibers were dispersed in all parts of the urogenital diaphragm. The urogenital diaphragm of elderly women mainly consists of connective tissue. Smooth muscle was also found but to a lesser extent. The frequently used English term “perineal membrane” for the urogenital diaphragm is justified and well describes our findings in elderly women.


Perineal membrane Smooth muscle Striated muscle Connective tissue Aging 


Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© The International Urogynecological Association 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Betschart
    • 1
  • D. Scheiner
    • 1
  • C. Maake
    • 2
  • M. Vich
    • 2
  • L. Slomianka
    • 2
  • D. Fink
    • 1
  • D. Perucchini
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GynecologyUniversity Hospital ZürichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of AnatomyUniversity of ZürichZurichSwitzerland

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