Adnexa (female pelvis)

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 8 Apr 2021

The adnexa, or more formally the adnexa uteri, and also known as the uterine appendages, is a collective term for the:

Some texts also include the associated blood vessels, nerves and other supporting tissues in the definition. It is interesting to note that the term is not included in the Terminologia Anatomica (TA), the internationally-agreed standard anatomical nomenclature 2

The term is often used by radiologists when referring to lesions that are located close to the uterus in the pelvis but their exact anatomical origin is unclear. In general radiological use, the term is sometimes (incorrectly) used synonymously with the ovary, one of the adnexal structures of the uterus. 

It is an unusual word (for English-speakers) as it has an identical spelling and pronunciation whether used in a singular or plural sense. Therefore the terms 'adnexus/adnexum' for a single adnexa or 'adnexae' for more than one adnexa are erroneous, and should not be used. 

The adjectival form for adnexa is adnexal. The term adnexitis is sometimes used for an inflammation of the adnexa uteri and the term adnexectomy as a synonym for a bisalpingo-oophorectomy.

Adnexa is derived from the Latin word 'adnexus', the past participle of the Latin verb 'adnectere' meaning to stick to 3.

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