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Introduction to the male pelvic cavity: want to learn more about it?

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Introduction to the male pelvic cavity

Learning objectives

After working through this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Identify the major structures that form the walls and floor of the male pelvic cavity.
  2. Recognize the major blood vessels that supply and drain the male pelvic cavity.
  3. Name the various organs of the male pelvic cavity.
  4. Understand the anatomical relations and functions of these organs.

Watch video

The pelvic cavity is a basin-shaped space formed by bony and musculoligamentous pelvic walls and floor. It contains several organs from the digestive, reproductive and urinary systems, some of which pass into the perineum. These include:

  • the terminal part of the sigmoid colon, which continues distally as the rectum,
  • a pair of seminal vesicles, ductus deferens and the prostate , and finally,
  • the pelvic part of the ureters and urinary bladder.

The organs are surrounded by pelvic visceral fascia and have the parietal peritoneum of the abdominal cavity reflecting onto their superior surfaces, forming pouches in between adjacent organs. The pelvic floor is formed by the levator ani and coccygeus muscles (collectively known as the pelvic diaphragm) which separate the pelvic cavity above from the perineum below.

The male pelvic cavity is supplied by various branches of the internal iliac arteries, the superior [ano]rectal artery and the median sacral artery. The organs within the pelvic cavity are innervated by various visceral plexuses that carry both sympathetic and parasympathetic fibers as well as visceral afferent fibers which generally carry pain sensation to the central nervous system.

This video will help you learn about the anatomy and contents of the male pelvic cavity.

Take a quiz

To broaden your understanding of this topic, try out this customizable quiz about the male pelvic cavity. You can customize this yourself to your preference.

Browse atlas

Browse our atlas gallery to further review the male pelvic organs you have covered so far.

Now that you have covered the male pelvic viscera, take a look at other key structures of the male pelvic cavity and their relations.

Summary

Key points about the male pelvic cavity
Walls and floors Bones: Hip bone (ilium, ischium, pubis), sacrum, coccyx
Ligaments:
Sacroiliac, sacrospinous, and sacrotuberous
Muscles:
Levator ani, coccygeus, piriformis, obturator internus
Digestive organs Organs: Sigmoid colon, rectum
Functions:
Absorption of minerals, vitamins, water and electrolytes, temporary storage of fecal matter and elimination during defecation
Reproductive organs Organs: Prostate, seminal vesicles, ductus deferens
Functions:
Secretion of protein and nutrient rich fluid that contributes to volume of semen, transport of semen
Urinary organs Organs: Pelvic part of ureter, urinary bladder
Functions:
Transport and elimination of urine from from the body
Peritoneal pouches Rectovesical pouch (between the rectum and urinary bladder)
Blood supply Internal iliac artery: Superior vesical arteries, inferior vesical artery, internal pudendal artery, middle [ano]rectal artery
Superior [ano]rectal artery
(from inferior mesenteric artery)
Median sacral artery
(from aortic bifurcation)
Innervation Sympathetic: Lumbar splanchnic nerves, hypogastric and pelvic plexuses
Parasympathetic:
Pelvic splanchnic nerves, left and right inferior hypogastric plexuses, and rectal (pelvic) plexus

Well done!

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