The urethral sphincter muscle in the male



The male urethral sphincter is a striated muscle in contact with the urethra from the base of the bladder to the perineal membrane. The individual muscle fibers are 25 to 30% smaller than fibers of associated muscles and are embedded in connective tissue which obscures the visibility of the whole muscle.

The muscle primordium is laid down around the urethra prior to the development of the prostate. Subsequently, the prostate develops as a diverticulum of the urethra and grows into the developing sphincter, thinning the overlying musculature. With the onset of puberty, accelerated growth of the prostate displaces the sphincter, with atrophy of the overlying muscle, resulting in what may appear to be isolated segments of the sphincter muscle distributed around the prostate. The prostate overgrows the anterior portion of the urethra and the associated sphincter muscle.

There is no distinct superior fascia of the so-called urogenital diaphragm separating the sphincter muscle from the prostate. The fascia of the sphincter muscle is inseparable from the prostatic sheath, is oriented vertically, and passes through the urogenital hiatus to unite with the fascia of the pudendal canals at the isochiopubic rami. Thus, the sphincter muscle is a component of a bladder-urethra-prostate-sphincter unit which lies within the pelvis, in the urogenital hiatus, and rests upon the perineal membrane. The concept of a urogenital diaphragm is not borne out by this study.