The uterine tube, also known as Fallopian tube, is approximately 10 - 12 cm long and 1 - 4 mm in diameter. It bridges the gap between the ovary laterally, and the uterus medially. Though it, the ovum passes into the uterine cavity. If conception occurs, it does so within the tube. The peritoneal reflection draping over the salpinges forms the mesosalpinx.
Gross anatomy and relations
A uterine tube is divided into several anatomic segments (from lateral to medial):
- fimbriae - which drape over the ovary : composed of ~ 25 finger like projections
infundibulum - funnel-shaped lateral part; drapes over the ovary with the fimbriae
- its opens into the peritoneal cavity at the abdominal ostium
- ampulla - the widest and longest section forming over half the entire length
- isthmus - immediately lateral to the uterus, is as the name suggests, the narrowest segment
- interstitial or intramural segment - section within the myometrium.
- arterial supply - tubal branch of the ovarian artery and terminal (tubal) branch of the uterine artery
- venous drainage - similarly named veins
Lymph drainage is predominantly laterally and up to the para-aortic lymph nodes (like the ovaries).
- ovarian and uterine plexuses (from T11 - L1)
Like many other muscular hollow tubes it has two layers of muscle (inner circular, outer longitudinal), and is lined by columnar epithelium, a mixture of ciliated and non ciliated. It is the former that 'beat' the ovum towards the uterus.
The normal uterine tubes are not visualized at cross-sectional imaging unless they are outlined by fluid. In the presence of peritoneal fluid or contrast material, the uterine tubes appear as paired, thin, serpentine juxta-uterine structures extending either anteriorly or posteriorly into the cul-de-sac.
Contrast studies can be completed by performing a hysterosalpingogram (HSG).
- 1. Sinnatamby CS. Last's Anatomy, Regional and Applied. Churchill Livingstone. (2011) ISBN:0702033952. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 2. Clemente CD. Anatomy, a regional atlas of the human body. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2007) ISBN:0781751039. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 3. Rezvani M, Shaaban AM. Fallopian tube disease in the nonpregnant patient. Radiographics. 31 (2): 527-48. doi:10.1148/rg.312105090 - Pubmed citation
- 1367638720507. Butler P, Mitchell A, Healy JC. Applied Radiological Anatomy. (2012) ISBN:0521766664. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
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