Aqueous vaginal contrast and scheduled hematocolpos with magnetic resonance imaging to delineate complex müllerian anomalies

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Phillip A. Romanski, M.D., Ashley Aluko, M.D., Pietro Bortoletto, M.D., Robert N. Troiano, M.D., Samantha M. Pfeifer, M.D.



To demonstrate the advantage of using aqueous vaginal contrast and scheduled hematocolpos with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to improve the delineation of gynecologic anatomy and to recommend that this modality be considered in patients with complex müllerian anomalies.


Video demonstration of MRI adjuncts to improve visualization of gynecologic anatomy.


Academic Hospital.


A patient with obstructed hemivagina and ipsilateral renal agenesis (OHVIRA) who presented for definitive surgical management.


OHVIRA is a unilateral obstructed müllerian anomaly that presents typically after menarche with progressively worsening dysmenorrhea caused by progressive distension of the obstructed hemivagina and uterine horn. The definitive treatment for this anomaly is resection of the unilateral obstruction. When the obstructed hemivagina is within close proximity to the patent hemivagina, vaginal septum resection should be performed to relieve the obstruction successfully. However, when the obstructed hemivagina and uterine horn are not adjacent to the patent hemivagina, a simple septum resection is not feasible and there is a high rate of restenosis if anastomosis is attempted. In this case, laparoscopic removal of the obstructed uterine horn, fallopian tube, cervix, and vagina should be considered as an alternative approach to resolving the obstruction.
A surgical approach can be recommended only once the surgeon has a clear understanding of the patient’s pelvic anatomy and the magnitude of the obstruction. In the presented case, a 17-year-old patient with OHVIRA presented for definitive surgical management. While on hormonal suppression, a pelvic MRI was performed that identified a uterus didelphys with a left hemiuterus and cervix communicating with a patent vagina. The right hemiuterus and cervix were measured 2.5 cm from the patent vagina. However, because of hormonal suppression, the vaginal cavity was decompressed, making it very difficult to discern the relationship between the two uteri and vaginas. To better determine whether vaginal septum resection to relieve the obstruction was feasible, norethindrone was discontinued to allow menstrual blood to fill the obstructed hemivagina followed by a subsequent pelvic MRI with aqueous vaginal contrast to fill the patent vagina with contrast gel to improve the visualization of the decompressed vaginal cavities.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Advantage of aqueous vaginal contrast and scheduled hematocolpos with MRI to image pelvic anatomy in a patient with a complex müllerian anomaly to guide surgical decision-making.


The addition of vaginal aqueous contrast clearly delineated the course and caliber of the patent vagina and its relationship to the obstructed hemivagina, now filled with blood. The inferior margin was in closer proximity to the patent vagina, but with only a very narrow segment (<1 cm) adjacent to the patent vagina and the obstructed cervix was displaced superiorly, now measuring 3.5 cm above the patent vagina. Surgical management options were discussed with the patient, and given the superior location of the obstructed uterus and cervix with only a narrow border of the vagina in continuity with the patent vagina, the risk of postoperative stenosis after vaginal septum resection was determined to be too high.
The decision was made to proceed with a laparoscopic resection of the obstructed right side, and the patient underwent laparoscopic resection of the right hemiuterus, fallopian tube, cervix, and vagina. Intraoperatively, a survey of the pelvis again confirmed that the two vaginas were too far to reconnect safely without a high risk of stenosis. The patient recovered without complications postoperatively and her menses resumed without any pain.


We highlight the use of two techniques to optimize MRI imaging of pelvic anatomy in a patient with a complex müllerian anomaly. First, the use of aqueous vaginal contrast with MRI is advantageous to clearly delineate the course and caliber of the patent vagina in patients with complex gynecologic anatomy. Second, cessation of hormonal suppression to allow menstruation to cause hematocolpos helped delineate the relationship between the obstructed vagina and patent vagina. In the presented case, these MRI adjuncts provided necessary detail that could not be appreciated with standard MRI to confirm that vaginal septum resection to preserve the right uterus would be too high a risk for postoperative stenosis in this patient. Aqueous vaginal contrast and scheduled hematocolpos should be considered as adjuncts to MRI when standard imaging modalities are unable to clearly describe the relationship between pelvic structures in cases of complex müllerian anomalies to help guide treatment recommendations.

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.