Introduction Our study developed geometric structures of the full term gravid and post partum uterus from clinical MRI images to provide a computational model. These geometric models contribute to the myometrial physiome concept1 and ultimately will quantitatively relate non invasive measures of uterine activity to the spaciotemporal activity of the myometrium during pregnancy. This will further develop our understanding of the physiology of labour.
Methods Uterine geometry was extracted from 94 clinical MRI images of the full term gravid uterus and 612 diffusion tensor MRI images of the post partum uterus removed by hysterectomy and treated with Syntocinon post delivery. We reconstructed the coordinates of each uterus within a computer visualisation package and produced a quantitative geometric reconstruction of the uterus in the pre and post partum state.
Results Three dimensional surface models of the in vivo full term gravid uterus and ex vivo post partum uterus were produced. Quantitative comparisons of the transverse, longitudinal and anteroposterior measurements of the uterine models with the uterine anatomy in the MRI images showed that the method of extraction was accurate and reliable. The results confirm that it is possible to produce a computational reconstruction of the geometric structure of the uterus from clinical MRI datasets which will be fully illustrated.
Conclusion Computational models provide an alternate research resource and have been integrated into patient assessment in Cardiology. The uterine equivalent must be further developed with the potential to increase our understanding of the physiological mechanisms in preterm and full term labour.
Taggart, M. J., A. Blanks, S. Kharche, A. Holden, B. Wang and H. Zhang. 2007.Towards understanding the myometrial physiome: approaches for the construction of a virtual physiological uterus. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, pS3.
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