German Contact How to study Login Register

Inguinal Canal

Contents

Introduction

The inguinal canal is a tubular opening that can be found on the anterior wall of the abdomen. It is placed at an angle and runs inferiorly and medially, which makes it an oblique canal and it is roughly three and a half to five centimeters in length. The inguinal ligament runs parallel and inferior to the canal and crosses it medially, very near its origin.

Recommended video: Inguinal canal
Structure of the inguinal canal and femoral sheath.

The Superficial and Deep Inguinal Rings

The inguinal rings superiorly and inferiorly limit the inguinal canal. They are the entrance and the exit to the tube.

The deep inguinal ring is the internal entrance to the inguinal canal, which is hidden behind the transversalis fascia. Clinically, it can be located exactly 1.25 centimeters above the midpoint of the inguinal ligament and is lateral to the epigastric vessels.

Deep inguinal ring

The superficial inguinal ring is the external exit of the inguinal canal. It sits behind the external oblique aponeurosis and is located superiorly and laterally to the pubic tubercle.

Inguinal ligament - ventral view

Borders

The superior border or the roof of the inguinal canal is made up of the medial crus of the aponeurosis of the external oblique muscle, the musculoaponeurotic arches of internal oblique muscle and the transverse abdominal muscles, as well as the transversalis fascia.

The inferior wall which acts as the floor of the canal and supports the inguinal structures contains the inguinal ligament, the lacunar ligament and the iliopubic tract.

Inguinal canal - ventral view

The anterior border is covered by the aponeurosis of the external oblique muscle, the fleshy part of the internal oblique muscle and the superficial inguinal ring.

Lastly, the posterior border is contributed to by the transversalis fascia, the conjoint tendon, which is made up of the inguinal falx, the reflected part of the inguinal ligament and finally the deep inguinal ring.

Contents

The contents of the inguinal canal vary depending on the sex of the human in question. In males, the spermatic cord can be found, whereas in females, the round ligament of the uterus is present. The common structures that are included regardless of genitalia are the blood and lymphatic vessels and the ilioinguinal nerve. The surrounding structures that border the canal slightly collapse into any space created between the cannula structures so that nothing can enter the canal and become lodged there.

Get me the rest of this article for free
Create your account and you'll be able to see the rest of this article, plus videos and a quiz to help you memorize the information, all for free. You'll also get access to articles, videos, and quizzes about dozens of other anatomy systems.
Create your free account ➞
Show references

References:

  • Frank H. Netter, MD, Atlas of Human Anatomy, Fifth Edition, Saunders - Elsevier, Chapter 4 Abdomen, Subchapter 25 Abdominal Wall, Guide Abdomen: Body Wall - Inguinal Canal, Page 136.

Author:

  • Dr. Alexandra Sieroslawska

Illustrators:

  • Inguinal canal - anterior view - Hannah Ely
  • Deep inguinal ring - Paul Kim
  • Inguinal ligament - ventral view - Hannah Ely
  • Inguinal canal - ventral view - Hannah Ely
© Unless stated otherwise, all content, including illustrations are exclusive property of Kenhub GmbH, and are protected by German and international copyright laws. All rights reserved.
Create your free account.
Start learning anatomy in less than 60 seconds.