Pelvic girdle and floor
The pelvic girdle performs several important functions in the human body. It supports the weight of the upper body, stabilizes it and transmits this weight to the lower limbs, allowing a range of actions to occur (e.g. sitting, standing, bipedal gait). It also protects the abdominopelvic viscera and provides attachment points for the smaller muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor and the perineum. The pelvic floor also functions to support the pelvic organs and prevent them from prolapse.
The bony pelvis is a complex basin-shaped structure that comprises the skeletal framework of the pelvic region and houses the pelvic organs. It consists of the hip bone and the sacrum, which are connected via the sacroiliac joint. The hip bone is composed of three fused bones: the ilium, ischium and the pubic bone.
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Ligaments of the pelvis
The robust structure of the pelvic girdle is held together by important mechanical stabilizers, the ligaments of the pelvis, which provide structural support and connection of various tissues in and around the pelvis.
Pelvic ligaments can be categorized according to their associated joints and are therefore divided into the ligaments of the: lumbosacral, sacroiliac, sacrococcygeal, and pubic symphyseal joints of the pelvis.
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Muscles of the pelvic floor
The pelvic floor is formed by the bowl- or funnel-shaped pelvic diaphragm, consisting of the levator ani and coccygeus muscles and their investing fascia. Structurally, the pelvic floor separates the pelvic cavity from the perineum. Functionally, these pelvic floor muscles support the pelvic organs, keeping them in place and preventing prolapse upon straining. It also aids in maintaining both urinary and fecal continence until one can conveniently void.
Deepen your understanding of the muscles of the pelvic floor and perineum with this study unit:
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