Scientific article

In Vivo Imaging-Based 3-Dimensional Pelvic Prototype Models to Improve Education Regarding Sexual Anatomy and Physiology

Published inThe journal of sexual medicine, vol. 17, no. 9, p. 1590-1602
Publication date2020-09
First online date2020-07-13

Background: Myths, misconceptions, and taboos about sexual anatomy and physiology are common and can affect sexual health and maintain harmful practices and beliefs.

Aim: To construct a female and a preliminary male 3-dimensional (3D) pelvic model on the basis of in vivo imaging, which could be studied in sex education and clinical practice.

Methods: We retrospectively studied the images of 200 female pelvic magnetic resonance examinations and reviewed the literature to choose the optimum magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocol for the study of the clitoris and surrounding organs. We also conducted a cross-sectional study of 30 women who were undergoing a pelvic MRI. 15 women had undergone female genital mutilation/cutting involving the clitoris and 15 had not. The best-quality MRI images of 3 uncut and 1 cut clitoris, together with the principal surrounding pelvic organs, were selected to generate 3D reconstructions using dedicated software. The same software was used to reconstruct the anatomy of the penis and the principal surrounding pelvic organs, based on contrast-enhanced computer tomography images. Images of both models were exported in .stl format and cleaned to obtain single manifold objects in free, open source software. Each organ model was sliced and 3D printed. A preliminary feedback was collected from 13 potential users working in urology, gynaecology, sexual medicine, physiotherapy, and education.

Outcomes: The main outcomes of this study are a kit of 3D pelvic models, 2-dimensional figures of female and male sexual anatomy, and files for 3D printing.

Results: We present a kit containing 3D models and 2-dimensional figures of female and male sexual anatomy, based on in vivo imaging and, feedbacks and suggestions received from potential users.

Clinical translation: Our kit can be used in anatomy and sex education among and by health professionals, teachers, sex educators, students, and the general population.

Strengths & limitations: The strengths are that the models were based on in vivo imaging, can be dismantled/reassembled, and show analogous anatomic structures of the clitoris and the penis. The female models represent diversity, including women with female genital mutilation/cutting. The limitations are that the male model is preliminary and can be improved if based on an MRI; that imaging-based anatomic representations can differ from anatomic dissections; and that the models represent the sexual organs at rest or during an unknown state of arousal only.

Conclusion: Our kit can be studied in anatomy, biology, and sex education, as well as in clinical practice.

  • 3D Printing
  • Anatomy Education
  • Clitoral Reconstruction
  • Clitoris
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • MRI
  • Model
  • Penis
  • Sex Education
  • Sexual Response
  • Clitoris
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sexual Behavior
Citation (ISO format)
ABDULCADIR, Jasmine et al. In Vivo Imaging-Based 3-Dimensional Pelvic Prototype Models to Improve Education Regarding Sexual Anatomy and Physiology. In: The journal of sexual medicine, 2020, vol. 17, n° 9, p. 1590–1602. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2020.05.025
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
Secondary files (1)
ISSN of the journal1743-6095

Technical informations

Creation10/05/2021 9:10:00 AM
First validation10/05/2021 9:10:00 AM
Update time03/16/2023 2:28:27 AM
Status update03/16/2023 2:28:26 AM
Last indexation10/19/2023 5:19:57 PM
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