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Arcuate uterus

An arcuate uterus is a mildly variant shape of the uterus. It is technically one of the Müllerian duct anomalies, but is often classified as a normal variant. It is the uterine anomaly that is least commonly associated with reproductive failure. Arcuate uterus can be characterized with ultrasound or MRI.

Pathology

An arcuate uterus is characterized by a mild indentation of the endometrium at the uterine fundus. It occurs due to a failure of complete resorption of the uterovaginal septum. It is the most common Mullarian duct anomaly, affecting 3.9% of the general population 7.

Radiographic features

General features include:

Pelvic ultrasound

A normal external uterine contour is noted, with a broad smooth indentation on the fundal segment of the endometrium. No division of the uterine horns.

Hysterosalpingogram

Opacification of the endometrial cavity demonstrates a single uterine canal with a broad saddle-shaped indentation of the uterine fundus.

MRI

A normal external uterine contour is maintained. The myometrial fundal indentation is smooth and broad, and the signal intensity of this region is iso-intense to normal myometrium.

Differential diagnosis

  • septate uterus
    • arcuate uterus and septate uterus exist on a spectrum from least to most resorption of the uterovaginal septum, respectively
  • bicornuate uterus
    • arcuate uterus can be distinguished from a bicornuate uterus on the basis of its complete fundal unification (i.e. the arcuate uterus has a normal or slightly indented external fundal contour, whereas the bicornuate has a more marked fundal indentation, no more than 5 mm above the level of the uterine horns)

Related articles

Abdominal and pelvic anatomy
Ultrasound

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