When performing anterior colporrhaphy for cystocele, most pelvic surgeons have not considered the neuroanatomy that contributes to urethral function. The aim of the study was to anatomically identify nerve fibers located in the anterior vagina associated with the pathogenesis of incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Anterior vaginal specimens were obtained from 17 female cadavers and 33 cases of clinical cystocele by anterior vaginal resection. The specimens were step-sectioned and stained with hematoxylin-eosin, S100 antibody, and tyrosine hydroxylase antibody. As a result, descending nerves 50-200 μm in thickness were identified between the urethra and vagina. They were located more than 10 mm medially from a cluster of nerves found almost along the lateral edge of the vagina and stained with S100 and tyrosine hydroxylase antibody, originated from the cranial part of the pelvic plexus, and appeared to terminate at the urethral smooth muscles. The authors classified the density of S100 positive nerve fibers in the anterior vaginal wall obtained from clinically operated cases of cystocele into three grades (Grade 1, nothing or a few thin nerves less than 20 μm in diameter; Grade 2, thick nerves more than 50 μm in diameter and thin nerves; Grade 3, more than 3 thick nerves in one field at an objective magnification of 4000x). Mean urethral mobility (Q-tip) values (28.1° ± 19.6°) observed in the Grade 3 cases was significantly lower than those (50.0° ± 27.4° and 59.4° ± 19.9°) in Grade 2 and Grade 1, respectively. In addition, the presence of preoperative or postoperative stress urinary incontinence in the cases of Grade 1 was significantly higher than those of the cases with S100 positive stained nerves. In conclusion, the novel nerve fibers immunohistochemically identified in the anterior vaginal wall are different from those of the common nervous system or the pelvic floor and are associated with the pathogenesis of urethral hypermobility.
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