The contents of the inguinal canal, which is a tubular opening found on the anterior wall of the abdomen, differs slightly between the sexes. The canal itself is situated at an angle running inferiorly and medially, with the inguinal ligament running parallel and inferior to it, before it crosses it medially close to the origin.
Structures found within the inguinal canal in both sexes are blood vessels, the ilioinguinal nerve and lymphatic vessels. In females the round ligament of the uterus is also passes through the inguinal canal, while in males it is the spermatic cord that is present.
The superior inguinal ring limits the inguinal canal superiorly, while it is limited inferiorly by the inferior inguinal ring. These two rings mark the entrance and exit of the inguinal canal. Hidden behind the transverse facialis is the internal entrance of the inguinal canal, known as the deep inguinal ring.
The medial crus of the aponeurosis of the external abdominal oblique muscle, the musculoaponeurotic arches of the internal abdominal oblique muscle, the transverse abdominis muscles and the transversalis fascia all make up the roof of the inguinal canal. The iliopubic tract, the inguinal ligament and the lacunar ligament make up its floor. Anteriorly the canal is covered by the aponeurosis of the external abdominal oblique muscle and part of the internal abdominal oblique. While the conjoint tendon, the transversalis fascia, part of the inguinal ligament and the deep inguinal ring all contribute to the posterior border of the inguinal canal.
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