Anatomy of the ovaries

Anatomy of the ovariesAnatomical features of ovaries. Functions of the ovaries. Blood supply and innervation of the ovaries.
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In this note, we will consider the anatomy of the ovaries. These are organs of the female reproductive system.

Each ovary (ovarium) serves for the development and maturation of female germ cells (oocytes), and also produces female sex hormones.

Ovary (ovarium)
Ovary (ovarium)
Ovary (ovarium)
Ovary (ovarium)

The ovaries are located in the pelvic cavity in the area of the ovarian fossa (fossa ovarica). It has the following borders:

  • Superiorly: external iliac artery and vein (a. et v. iliacae externae)
  • Anteriorly: place where the posterior sheath of the broad ligament of the uterus passes into the parietal peritoneum
  • Inferiorly: umbilical artery
  • Posteriorly: the internal artery and vein

It is projected into the right and left inguinal regions of the anterior abdominal wall.

Skeletotopy

It is located between the S1 and S2.

Syntopy

  • The uterus is located on the medial side.
Uterus (uterus)
Uterus (uterus)
  • Ampulla of the uterine tube is located on the lateral side.
Ampulla of the uterine (ampulla tubae uterinae)
Ampulla of the uterine (ampulla tubae uterinae)
  • Uterine tube is located superiorly.
Uterine tube (tuba uterina)
Uterine tube (tuba uterina)
  • Broad ligament of the uterus is located anteriorly.
Broad ligament of the uterus (lig. latum uteri)
Broad ligament of the uterus (lig. latum uteri)

In relation to the peritoneum, the ovaries are located intraperitoneally, the peritoneum covering the ovary is poorly developed and consists of the germinal epithelium.

Macroscopic structure

The ovary has two surfaces:

1. Medial surface (facies medialis), which is facing towards the uterus.

Medial surface (facies medialis)
Medial surface (facies medialis)

2. Lateral surface (facies lateralis), which adheres to the wall of the lesser pelvis.

Lateral surface (facies lateralis)
Lateral surface (facies lateralis)

In places where the surfaces pass into one another, borders are formed:

  1. The free border (margo liber), which is directed posteriorly.
Free border (margo liber)
Free border (margo liber)

2. The mesovarian border (margo mesovaricus), which faces forward and fuses with the posterior sheath of the broad ligament of the uterus.

Mesovarian border (margo mesovaricus)
Mesovarian border (margo mesovaricus)

The ovary, like other parenchymal organs, has a place of entry for vessels and nerves, namely the hilum of the ovary (hilum ovarii).

Hilum of the ovary (hilum ovarii)
Hilum of the ovary (hilum ovarii)

Also, the ovary has two extremities:

1. The tubal extremity (extremitas tubaria), which is attached to the uterine tube.

Tubal extremity (extremitas tubaria)
Tubal extremity (extremitas tubaria)

2. The uterine extremity (extremitas uterina), which is connected to the uterus by means of the proper ligament of the ovary (lig. ovarii proprium)

Uterine extremity (extremitas uterina)
Uterine extremity (extremitas uterina)
Proper ligament of the ovary (lig. ovarii proprium)
Proper ligament of the ovary (lig. ovarii proprium)

The ovary is fixed in its place by a number of ligaments:

The suspensory ligament of the ovary (lig. suspensorium ovarii), which is a fold of the peritoneum, which starts at the line of entry into the lesser pelvis and descends to the tubal extremity of the ovary. It contains the vessels and nerves of the ovary, dense connective tissue, and bundles of smooth muscles.

Suspensory ligament of the ovary (lig. suspensorium ovarii)
Suspensory ligament of the ovary (lig. suspensorium ovarii)
Suspensory ligament of the ovary (lig. suspensorium ovarii)
Suspensory ligament of the ovary (lig. suspensorium ovarii)
Suspensory ligament of the ovary (lig. suspensorium ovarii)
Suspensory ligament of the ovary (lig. suspensorium ovarii)
  • The proper ligament of the ovary (lig. ovarii proprium), which passes through the thickness of the broad ligament of the uterus, it connects its tubular extremity with the fundus of the uterus.
Proper ligament of the ovary (lig. ovarii proprium)
Proper ligament of the ovary (lig. ovarii proprium)
  • The mesentery of the ovary (mesovarium), which also fixes the ovary.
Mesentery of the ovary (mesovarium)
Mesentery of the ovary (mesovarium)

It is a part of the broad ligament of the uterus, heading to the anterior (mesovarian) border of the ovary.

  • Intra-abdominal pressure, which is not a ligament but plays a significant role in fixing the ovary.

The ovary is covered on all sides with a peritoneum, and under it is the tunica albuginea (tunica albuginea).

Tunica albuginea (tunica albuginea)
Tunica albuginea (tunica albuginea)

Microscopic structure

The ovarian stroma (stroma ovarii) consists of fibrous connective tissue.

Ovarian stroma (stroma ovarii)
Ovarian stroma (stroma ovarii)

In the section with the naked eye, you can see 2 zones in the parenchyma of the ovary:

1. The medulla (medulla ovarii), which is shifted to the hilum of the ovary and produces female sex hormones called estrogens.

Medulla (medulla ovarii)
Medulla (medulla ovarii)

2. The cortex (cortex ovarii), which is located on the periphery and contains the follicles.

Cortex (cortex ovarii)
Cortex (cortex ovarii)

In some ovaries, we can observe the corpus luteum (corpus luteum), a ruptured follicle from which an oocyte came out.

Corpus luteum (corpus luteum)
Corpus luteum (corpus luteum)

After these events, it transforms into a temporary gland, which is needed to protect the pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, then the corpus luteum atrophies.

Blood supply

  • The ovarian artery (a. ovarica)
  • Ovarian branches (rr. ovarici)

Venous drainage

  • The uterine venous plexus (plexus venosus uterinus)
  • The inferior vena cava (v. cava inferior)

Lymph drainage

Lymph flows mainly into the lumbar lymph nodes (nodi lymphatici lumbales)

Innervation

  • Parasympathetic innervation is provided by the pelvic splanchnic nerve.
  • Afferent innervation is provided by sensitive fibers coming from the superior lumbar spinal ganglia.
  • Sympathetic innervation is provided by the abdominal aortic plexus.
Dictionary

Anatomy of the ovaries

Female genitalia
organa genitalia feminina
Ovary
ovarium
Uterus
uterus
Uterine tubes
tuba uterina
Vagina
vagina
Mons pubis
mons pubis
Labia majora
labia majora pudendi
Labia minora
labia minora pudendi
Greater vestibular glands
glandulae vestibulares majores
Lesser vestibular glands
glandulae vestibulares minores
Bulb of the vestibule
bulbus vestibuli
Clitoris
clitoris
Hymen
hymen
Mammary gland
mamma
Ovarian fossa
fossa ovarica
External iliac artery and vein
a. et v. iliacae externae
Medial surface
facies medialis
Lateral surface
facies lateralis
Free border
margo liber
Mesovarian border
margo mesovaricus
Hilum of the ovary
hilum ovarii
Tubal extremity
extremitas tubaria
Uterine extremity
extremitas uterina
Proper ligament of the ovary
lig. ovarii proprium
Suspensory ligament of the ovary
lig. suspensorium ovarii
Mesentery of the ovary
mesovarium
Tunica albuginea
tunica albuginea
Medulla of the ovary
medulla ovarii
Cortex of the ovary
cortex ovarii
Corpus luteum
corpus luteum
Ovarian artery
a. ovarica
Ovarian branches
rr. ovarici
Uterine venous plexus
plexus venosus uterinus
Inferior vena cava
v. cava inferior
Lumbar lymph nodes
nodi lymphatici lumbales
Ovarian stroma
stroma ovarii
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