Cysts of the lower male genitourinary tract: embryologic and anatomic considerations and differential diagnosis

Haytham M Shebel, Hashim M Farg, Orpheus Kolokythas, Tarek El-Diasty
Radiographics: a Review Publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc 2013, 33 (4): 1125-43
Cysts of the lower male genitourinary tract are uncommon and usually benign. These cysts have different anatomic origins and may be associated with a variety of genitourinary abnormalities and symptoms. Various complications may be associated with these cysts, such as urinary tract infection, pain, postvoiding incontinence, recurrent epididymitis, prostatitis, and hematospermia, and they may cause infertility. Understanding the embryologic development and normal anatomy of the lower male genitourinary tract can be helpful in evaluating these cysts and in tailoring an approach for developing a differential diagnosis. There are two main groups of cysts of the lower male genitourinary tract: intraprostatic cysts and extraprostatic cysts. Intraprostatic cysts can be further classified into median cysts (prostatic utricle cysts, müllerian duct cysts), paramedian cysts (ejaculatory duct cysts), and lateral cysts (prostatic retention cysts, cystic degeneration of benign prostatic hypertrophy, cysts associated with tumors, prostatic abscess). Extraprostatic cysts include cysts of the seminal vesicle, vas deferens, and Cowper duct. A variety of pathologic conditions can mimic these types of cysts, including ureterocele, defect resulting from transurethral resection of the prostate gland, bladder diverticulum, and hydroureter and ectopic insertion of ureter. Accurate diagnosis depends mainly on the anatomic location of the cyst. Magnetic resonance imaging and transrectal ultrasonography (US) are excellent for detecting and characterizing the nature and exact anatomic origin of these cysts. In addition, transrectal US can play an important therapeutic role in the management of cyst drainage and aspiration, as in cases of prostatic abscess.

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