Inguinal canal

Dr Jeffrey Cheng and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

The inguinal canal is a passage in the anterior abdominal wall that transmits structures from the pelvis to the perineum formed by the fetal migration of the gonad from the abdomen into the labioscrotal folds.

Gross anatomy

The inguinal canal has an oblique course, is 4 cm in length and has two openings:

  1. deep inguinal ring: a round opening in the transversalis fascia found 1 cm superior to the inguinal ligament and 1 cm lateral to the inferior epigastric arteries
  2. superficial inguinal ring: a V-shaped opening in the external oblique aponeurosis that is superior and medial to the pubic tubercle 1,2

The following structures contribute to the walls of the inguinal canal 1:

MALT is a mnemonic to recall this. 


Related pathology

Abdominal and pelvic anatomy
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Article information

rID: 23026
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Superficial inguinal ring
  • Deep inguinal ring
  • Inguinal ring

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