Contents of the Inguinal Canal – Inguinal Region

by James Pickering, PhD

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    00:00 So, what runs in the inguinal canal? What do we have in the inguinal canal? And I mentioned this at the beginning, we have different structures for the male and for the female. In the female, it’s relatively straight forward. We just have what’s known as the round ligament of the uterus. This is just an embryological remnant really.

    00:22 As the ovaries descended, there was the migration of this ligamentous structure from the uterus towards the inguinal canal and it follows the same path as the spermatic cord. So, it passes through the deep here, runs along the canal and exits via the superficial inguinal ring. It’s a very small structure and it then merges with the fat of the labia majora.

    00:47 If the deep inguinal ring in the female does persist, if it doesn’t close up, if you have what’s known as a patent processus vaginalis, then you have fat which can creep in to this space and you have what’s known as a canal of Nuck, but we don’t need to dwell on the female as much because the small size of the round ligament of the uterus means the canal is quite small and it’s not that likely that female suffer from inguinal herniation. But, as we can see on the opposite side of the screen, within the male, there is a very substantial structure and this is known as the spermatic cord. The spermatic cord is a really important structure that contains a whole series of blood vessels, of nerves, lymphatic vessels which we can see and this creates an increased size, it increases the size of the inguinal canal which means the superficial inguinal ring is that much larger, which means it’s more prone to herniation. We can see we have the ductus deference, that is the tube that allows the sperm that have been produced in the testes to pass back into the pelvis so they can be ejaculated through the urethra and we will look at that in more detail when we look at the pelvis. We have an artery that specifically goes to the ductus deferens, we have an artery that goes to the testicles themselves, we have another artery that supplies the muscle, the cremaster muscle that surrounds the spermatic cord or at least part of the spermatic cord. We have venous drainage, we have autonomic nerves, we have what’s called the genital branch of the genitofemoral nerve and this helps to supply cutaneous innervation from the skin of the testes in the scrotum.

    02:31 And we also, like all organs, have lymphatic drainage and we have lymphatic vessels.

    02:37 So, here we can see the contents of the inguinal canal in the male and the female, specifically the spermatic cord in the male. This is important because as these structures pass through,

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Contents of the Inguinal Canal – Inguinal Region by James Pickering, PhD is from the course Abdomen.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Iliohypogastric nerve
    2. Blood vessels
    3. Lymphatics
    4. Spermatic cord
    5. Genitofemoral nerve
    1. Men have larger superficial inguinal rings.
    2. Men have increased intra-abdominal pressure.
    3. Men have weaker abdominal muscles.
    4. The inguinal canal is shorter in men.

    Author of lecture Contents of the Inguinal Canal – Inguinal Region

     James Pickering, PhD

    James Pickering, PhD

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