Anatomy of the lower urinary tract

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Abstract

The lower urinary tract (LUT) comprises the bladder and urethra in females with the addition of the prostate in males. The function of the lower tract is the low-pressure non-volitional storage of urine it receives from the upper urinary tract followed by the voluntary expulsion of urine when socially acceptable. The LUT may be affected by functional disorders such as bladder overactivity and urinary incontinence or by obstructive disorders such as prostatic enlargement and stricture disease or alternatively by other pathologies such as carcinoma and lithiasis. A thorough knowledge and understanding of the relevant anatomy is essential in understanding the various pathophysiological mechanisms of LUT disorders and their appropriate management. We describe the anatomy of the male and female LUT between which considerable differences exist in structure and function, in addition to summarizing the histology, vasculature and neural innervation of the organs comprising the LUT.

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