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Testis and epididymis

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Understand the gross anatomy of the testis and epididymis, including their connective tissue coverings.
  2. Provide a brief understanding of the function of each part.
  3. Describe the neurovasculature of and lymphatic drainage from the testes.

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The testes (sing. testis) are the male gonads which are composed of lobules containing convoluted seminiferous tubules, where sperm production (spermatogenesis) occurs. Supporting cells within the testes secrete hormones, primarily androgens such as testosterone.

The testes reside within connective tissue layers known as the tunica albuginea and tunica vaginalis which are further enveloped by the layers of the spermatic cord.

Efferent ductules from the testis join to form the epididymis (pl. epididymides). These ductules unite within the head and body of the epididymis to form a single duct in the tail of the epididymis before becoming the ductus (or vas) deferens. Within the lumens of the ductules in the epididymis, sperm maturation is completed, although they remain immotile.

The following video will go into more detail about the external and internal structure of the testis and epididymis.

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Download the following PDF worksheets and learn the anatomy of the testis and epididymis.


Browse atlas

Review individual structures in the atlas:


Key points about testis and epididymis
Testis Contents: Lobules, septa, mediastinum of testis, seminiferous tubules (convoluted/straight), rete testis, efferent ductules.
Tunica vaginalis (composed of parietal and visceral layers), tunica albuginea, tunica vasculosa.
Production of sperm, hormone production and secretion.
Epididymis Location: Overlies superoposterior aspect of testis.
Formed by efferent ductules from testis → join together in head and body → become single duct in tail → continues as ductus deferens.
Maturation of sperm.

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