The female reproductive system
These specimens show the female reproductive system along with the blood vessels
The female reproductive system consists of the uterus, the cervix, the vagina, the uterine tubes and the ovaries. Structures associated with the reproductive system such as the ovarian ligament, the round ligament of the uterus, the uterine artery and the ovarian vessels can be identified in these specimens.
The uterus is a thick-walled, muscular organ situated in the pelvis between the urinary bladder and the rectum. The broad ligaments are lateral. It is divisible into the fundus, the body and the cervix. It has three layers in its wall, namely the endometrium, the myometrium and the perimetrium from inside outwards. A uterine cavity is seen within the uterus. This continues with the canal of the cervix through an opening known as the internal os. The canal of the cervix continues with the vaginal cavity by an opening known as the external os.
The uterine tubes are attached to the upper part of the body of the uterus. The medial opening of the tube, known as the uterine ostium is located at the superior angle of the uterine cavity. The uterine tubes consist of four main parts, namely, the intramural part, the isthmus, the ampulla and the infundibulum. The infundibulum presents an opening known as the abdominal ostium.
The ovaries are a pair of female gonads, located in the lateral wall of the pelvis. They are attached to the upper posterior aspect of the broad ligament by a peritoneal fold, known as the mesovarium. Medially, it is attached to the superior angle of the uterus by the ovarian ligament. The ovaries consist of numerous ovarian follicles at various stages of development.
The cervix is the lower cylindrical part of the uterus. It is 2.5 centimeters long. It consists of a cavity, known as the cervical canal. It communicates with the uterine cavity through the internal os and with the vaginal cavity through the external os. The cervical cancer is the common type of cancer in females.
The vagina is the female organ of copulation. The upper end of the vaginal cavity communicates with the cervical canal through the external os. Its lower opening is known as the vaginal orifice. The vaginal orifice is guarded by an incomplete mucosal fold, known as the hymen. The features of the hymen are examined for the medico-legal purpose to confirm the virginity.
The ovarian ligament attaches the lower end of the ovary medially to the superior angle of the uterus. It lies within the broad ligament.
Round ligament of the uterus:
The round ligament of the uterus extends from the superior angle of the uterus, passes through the broad ligament to reach the deep inguinal ring. It then traverses through the inguinal canal, exits through the superficial inguinal ring and splits into slips to attach to the labia majora. It maintains the angle of anteversion and anteflexion thereby preventing the prolapse of the uterus.
The uterine artery is a branch of the internal iliac artery. It reaches the isthmus of the uterus where it is crossed by the ureter. It then ascends along the lateral border of the uterus, within the broad ligament and supplies the uterus and the ovaries.
The ovarian artery is a direct branch of the abdominal aorta. It enters the suspensory ligament of the ovary to supply the ovaries. The ovarian veins are the tributaries of the internal iliac vein.