After completing this study unit, you will be able to:
- Describe the anatomy of the inguinal canal.
- Identify the contents of the inguinal canal/spermatic cord.
- Define the layers of the anterior abdominal wall as well as their contributions to the coverings of the spermatic cord.
The inguinal canal is an oblique tubular passage that connects the pelvis and perineum. It originates superolaterally at the deep inguinal ring, traverses the abdominal wall and terminates at the superficial inguinal ring near the pubic tubercle.
During fetal life, the inguinal canal in males allows for the physiological descension of the testes into the scrotum. In adult life, the inguinal canal serves as a conduit for the spermatic cord and ilioinguinal nerve in males. In females, the inguinal canal is less prominent due to the absence of the spermatic cord, however, it does provide the passage for the round ligament of uterus and ilioinguinal nerve.
The inguinal canal is the weakest point of the trunk wall and as such, an often site for herniations (inguinal hernia), especially so in males due to the descent of the testis.
Watch the following video to learn more about the anatomy of this structure.
Take a quiz
Are you ready to turn that newly acquired knowledge into long term memory? Do so with the quiz below.
If you want to further challenge yourself, try out this custom quiz which you can adapt and change according to your own preferences.
Take a closer look at each of the structures in the gallery below.
|Obliquely oriented passage through several musculoaponeurotic layers of the lower abdominal wall which transmits the spermatic cord (male) / round ligament (female)
Roof: internal oblique and transversus abdominis muscles
Anterior wall: aponeuroses of internal and external abdominal oblique muscles
Floor: inguinal and lacunar ligaments
Posterior wall: transversalis fascia and inguinal falx (conjoint tendon of internal abdominal oblique and transversus abdominis muscles)
Male: spermatic cord (testicular/cremasteric arteries, artery of ductus deferens, pampiniform venous plexus, ilioinguinal nerve, genital branch of genitofemoral nerve, ductus deferens
Female: round ligament, ilioinguinal nerve