Prostatic peripheral zone thickness: what is normal on magnetic resonance imaging?

Neil F. Wasserman, Benjamin Spilseth, Tina Sanghvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To report the precision of a technique of measuring the PZ thickness on T2-weighted MRI and report normal parameters in patients with normal-sized prostates. We also wanted to establish the mean and second standard deviations (2SD) above and below the mean as criteria for abnormally narrow or expanded PZ thickness. Methods: Of the initial 1566 consecutive cohort referred for evaluation for carcinoma based on elevated PSA (prostate specific antibody) or DRE (digital rectal examination), 132 separate subjects with normal-sized prostates were selected for this study. Mean age was 58.2 years (15–82). Median serum PSA was 6.2 ng/mL (range 0.3–145). Most were asymptomatic for lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). Inclusion criteria in this study required technically adequate T2-weighted MRI and total prostatic volume (TPV) ≤ 25 cc. Exclusion criteria included post-prostatic surgical and radiation patients, patients having had medical management or minimally invasive therapy for BPH, those being treated for prostatitis. Patients with suspected tumor expanding or obscuring measurement boundaries were also not considered. Transition zone (TZ) and peripheral zone (PZ) volumes were determined using the prolate ellipsoid model. Posterolateral measurement of the PZ was obtained at the axial level of maximal transverse diameter of the prostate on a line drawn from the outer boundary of the TZ to the inner boundary of the external prostatic capsule (EPC). The data were normally distributed. Therefore, it was analyzed using the 2-sided student t-test and Pearson product correlation statistic. Results: Mean pooled (composite) measurement for the posterolateral PZ (PLPZ) was 10 mm (CI 9.5–10.5 mm) with SD of 2.87 mm. Means were statistically the same for the 2 observers (p = 0.75). Pearson correlation between the two observers was 0.63. Conclusions: In a prostate ≤ 25 cc volume , the posterolateral PZ should be no thicker than 15.8 mm and averages 10.0 mm when measured in the maximal axial plane on MRI. These norms were independent of age or use of endorectal coil. The technique measurement demonstrated clinically useful precision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4185-4193
Number of pages9
JournalAbdominal Radiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Measurement
  • Methods
  • Peripheral zone
  • Prostate
  • Volume

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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