Anatomy of the uterine tubes

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

The uterine (fallopian) tube (tuba uterina) is an organ that provides the passage of an oocyte from the peritoneal cavity into the uterine cavity, as well as the passage of spermatozoa from the uterine cavity to the ampulla of the uterine tube or into the peritoneal cavity.

Uterine (fallopian) tube (tuba uterina)
Uterine (fallopian) tube (tuba uterina)
Uterine (fallopian) tube (tuba uterina)
Uterine (fallopian) tube (tuba uterina)
Uterine (fallopian) tube (tuba uterina)
Uterine (fallopian) tube (tuba uterina)

These processes constitute the fertilization process (that is, the uterine tubes provide fertilization).

Holotopy

The uterine tubes are located in the pelvic cavity, in the superior part of the broad ligament of the uterus. They are projected into the right and left inguinal regions of the anterior abdominal wall.

Skeletotopy

The uterine tubes are located between the first and second sacral vertebrae (S 1-S 2).

Syntopy

  • The loops of the small intestine are located superiorly.
Loops of the small intestine
Loops of the small intestine
  • The ovary and its rudimentary structures are located inferiorly.
Ovary (ovarium)
Ovary (ovarium)
  • A filled urinary bladder is located anteriorly.
Urinary bladder (vesica urinaria)
Urinary bladder (vesica urinaria)
  • The rectum is located posteriorly.
Rectum (rectum)
Rectum (rectum)

Macroscopic structure

The uterine tube consists of the following parts:

1. The uterine (intramural) part (pars uterina/intramuralis), which is enclosed in the thickness of the uterine wall.

Uterine (intramural) part (pars uterina/intramuralis)
Uterine (intramural) part  (pars uterina/intramuralis)

2. The isthmus of the uterine tube (isthmus tubae uterinae), which is the narrowest, shortest, and thick-walled part located next to the uterus.

Isthmus of the uterine tube (isthmus tubae uterinae)
Isthmus of the uterine tube (isthmus tubae uterinae)

3. The ampulla of the uterine tube (ampulla tubae uterinae), which is the longest and most expanded part.

Ampulla of the uterine tube (ampulla tubae uterinae)
Ampulla of the uterine tube (ampulla tubae uterinae)

4. The infundibulum of the uterine tube (infundibulum tubae uterinae), which is the expanded part of the ampulla.

Infundibulum of the uterine tube (infundibulum tubae uterinae)
Infundibulum of the uterine tube (infundibulum tubae uterinae)
Infundibulum of the uterine tube (infundibulum tubae uterinae)
Infundibulum of the uterine tube (infundibulum tubae uterinae)

It ends with the fimbriae of the tube (fimbriae tubae).

Fimbriae of the tube (fimbriae tubae)
Fimbriae of the tube (fimbriae tubae)
Fimbriae of the tube (fimbriae tubae)
Fimbriae of the tube (fimbriae tubae)
Fimbriae of the tube (fimbriae tubae)
Fimbriae of the tube (fimbriae tubae)

One of such fimbriae is called the fimbria ovarica (fimbria ovarica), and it reaches the tubal end of the ovary.

Fimbria ovarica (fimbria ovarica)
Fimbria ovarica (fimbria ovarica)

Fimbriae perform a very important function. With their peristaltic movements, they capture the oocyte and direct it to the ampullary part of the tube. The oocyte, in turn, after leaving the follicle is located in the abdominal cavity. Oocytes do not have organoids for movement, so they cannot reach the uterine tube on their own.

Fertilization is carried out in the ampullary part of the uterine tube. After fertilization, cell division immediately begins and while the embryo divides, it moves through the uterine tube into the uterine cavity.

The uterine tube has two openings

1. The abdominal ostium of the uterine tube (ostium abdominale tubae uterinae), which is located in the area of the infundibulum. It communicates with the peritoneal cavity.

Abdominal ostium of the uterine tube (ostium abdominale tubae uterinae)
Abdominal ostium of the uterine tube (ostium abdominale tubae uterinae)

2. The uterine ostium of the uterine tube (ostium uterinum tubae uterinae), which opens into the uterine cavity.

Uterine ostium of the uterine tube (ostium uterinum tubae uterinae)
Uterine ostium of the uterine tube (ostium uterinum tubae uterinae)

The wall of the uterine tube consists of several layers.

The mucous membrane (tunica mucosa). It is represented by a simple columnar epithelium and forms longitudinal folds (plicae longitudinales). It contains ciliated and secretory cells. The cilia move rhythmically towards the uterus, which facilitates the movement of the oocyte through the tube to the uterus.

In some cases, a fertilized oocyte may be implanted into the mucous membrane of the uterine tube. In this case, an ectopic (or tubal) pregnancy develops.

The muscular coat (tunica muscularis) has a standard structure and only two layers.

  • The circular layer (stratum circulare), which is an internal layer.
  • The longitudinal layer (stratum longitudinale), which is an external layer.

The serosa (tunica serosa). In relation to the peritoneum, the uterine tubes lie intraperitoneally and have a mesentery (mesosalpinx).

Blood supply

  • Tubal branches (rr. tubarii) from the uterine artery (a. uterina) and ovarian artery (a. ovarica), which, in turn, are branches of the internal iliac artery (a. iliaca interna)

Venous drainage

Tubal veins (vv. tubarii) into the uterine venous plexus (plexus venosus uterinus), which flows into the internal iliac vein (v. iliaca interna)

Lymph drainage

  • Lumbar lymph nodes (nodi lymphatici lumbales)

Innervation

Along the course of the organ, nerve fibers form the so-called tubal plexus (plexus tubarius)

  • Afferent innervation is provided by the sensitive fibers of the sacral spinal nerves.
  • Parasympathetic innervation is provided by the fibers of the pelvic splanchnic nerve.
  • Sympathetic innervation is provided by the inferior pancreatic plexus.
Dictionary

Anatomy of the uterine tubes

Female genitalia
organa genitalia feminina
Ovaries
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
Uterine (intramural) part
pars uterina/intramuralis
Isthmus of the uterine tube
isthmus tubae uterinae
Ampulla of the uterine tube
ampulla tubae uterinae
Infundibulum of the uterine tube
infundibulum tubae uterinae
Tubal fimbria
fimbriae tubae
Ovarian fimbria
fimbria ovarica
Abdominal ostium of the uterine tube
ostium abdominale tubae uterinae
Uterine ostium of the uterine tube
ostium uterinum tubae uterinae
Mucous membrane
tunica mucosa
Longitudinal folds
plicae longitudinales
Muscular layer
tunica muscularis
Circular layer
stratum circulare
Longitudinal layer
stratum longitudinale
Serous coat
tunica serosa
Mesentery of the uterine tube
mesosalpinx
Tubal branches
rr. tubarii
Tubal veins
vv. tubarii
Lumbar lymph nodes
nodi lymphatici lumbales
Uterine artery
a. uterina
Ovarian artery
a. ovarica
Internal iliac artery
a. iliaca interna
Uterine venous plexus
plexus venosus uterinus
Internal iliac vein
v. iliaca interna
Tubal plexus
plexus tubarius
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