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Figure 2 Normal prostate gland anatomy demonstrated in a 65-year-old man. (A) Axial and (B) coronal T2-weighted images demonstrate the normal high signal intensity of the peripheral gland (black arrow). The peripheral gland largely lies posterior and inferior to the central gland. The prostatic capsule (open arrow) appears as a thin rim of low signal intensity on T2-weighted imaging.

Figure 2 Normal prostate gland anatomy demonstrated in a 65-year-old man. (A) Axial and (B) coronal T2-weighted images demonstrate the normal high signal intensity of the peripheral gland (black arrow). The peripheral gland largely lies posterior and inferior to the central gland. The prostatic capsule (open arrow) appears as a thin rim of low signal intensity on T2-weighted imaging.

preservation of this collagenous network in a given region of the gland implies that this region is spared of neoplasm (44).

Relative to the peripheral gland, the central and transitional zones of the central gland are of lower T2-signal intensity, due to the presence of fewer glandular elements and larger amounts of stromal tissue and compact smooth muscle. The central gland is often heterogeneous on T2-weighted imaging because of variable hyperplasia of glandular elements, fibrous tissue, smooth muscle, and stroma (42,45). The prostate is surrounded by a 2 to 3 mm layer of fibromuscular capsule that lies between the glandular component of the periprostatic structures and appears as a thin rim of low signal intensity on T2-weighted imaging (Fig. 2B) (38,39).

The neurovascular bundles are paired structures that course along the postero-lateral aspect of the prostate and contain sympathetic nerves and veins. They are best depicted on Tl-weighted imaging as hypointense structures at the posterolateral margins of the prostate gland surrounded by high signal intensity periprostatic fat (39,46,47). Various branches pierce the prostatic capsule and create sites of capsular weakness at the base and apex of the prostate. Due to slow venous flow, the peripro-static venous plexus appears as a high T2-signal intensity periprostatic rim in the lateral, posterolateral, and anterior periprostatic tissue (Fig. 3) (39,41,42). Periprostatic veins are not found in the space between the prostate and rectum. The periprostatic venous plexi are prominent in young patients with small prostates but become less prominent with advancing age (48).

The seminal vesicles are located posterior to the bladder base near the ureterove-sical junction and are located lateral to the ipsilateral vas deferens. Just proximal to the entry of the vas deferens into the prostate, the vas enlarges to form the ampulla (38,39).

On T2-weighted imaging, the seminal vesicles are surrounded by thin, low signal intensity walls and are internally T2-hyperintense to muscle due to their fluid content (Fig. 4A and B) (49). The ampullae of the vas deferens have thick,

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