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Pubic symphysis

Recommended video: Bony pelvis [27:56]
Overview of the bony pelvis.

The pubic symphysis is a secondary cartilaginous joint located in the midline between the bodies of the pubic bones.

The symphysis is composed of the fibrocartilage interpubic disc and surrounding ligaments that comprise a strong fibrous sheet. The anterior fibers of this sheet are interwoven with the expansions of the abdominal muscles and the adductors of the hip, which support and strengthen the joint. 

The fibrous sheet has two well-defined ligaments that strengthen the interpubic joint: 

  • The superior pubic ligament is situated on the superior aspect of the symphysis, attaching laterally to the pubic tubercles. 
  • The inferior (arcuate) pubic ligament is a thick fibrous band that connects the inferior parts of the joint. 

The movements in the pubic symphysis are very limited but very important for cushioning the stress related to physical activity particularly while walking and running. During pregnancy, circulating hormones (e.g. relaxin) cause structural changes in the pubic symphysis in order to increase its width and mobility to prepare the pelvis for childbirth. 

Terminology English: Pubic symphysis
: Symphysis pubica
Definition The pubic symphysis is the articulation between the left and right pubis bones.
Ligaments Superior pubic ligament, inferior pubic ligament
Function Absorbs and cushions the weight and stress from the upper body; facilitates the vaginal childbirth
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Learn everything about the pelvis and the related structures with the following study unit: 

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