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The rectouterine pouch (TA: excavatio rectouterina 3), also known as the rectovaginal pouch, cul-de-sac or pouch of Douglas, is an extension of peritoneum between the posterior wall of uterus and the rectum in females. It is the most dependent part of the peritoneal cavity and is analogous to the rectovesical pouch in males.
- anteriorly: uterus, posterior fornix of the vagina
- posteriorly: rectum
- inferiorly: peritoneal rectovaginal fold
Being the most dependent and lower area of the peritoneal cavity of females in the supine position, fluids (e.g. abscess, infection, ascites, hemoperitoneum, and even intraperitoneal drop metastases) preferentially collects here.
A small amount of homogeneous and low-attenuated fluid in the rectouterine pouch is normally seen in child-bearing age women.
The pouch is useful in end-stage renal failure patients, where it is a preferred place for peritoneal dialysis. The distal end of the tenckhoff catheter is placed in the pouch, and occasionally sutured to the bladder to avoid migration.
History and etymology
It is named after the Scottish anatomist James Douglas (1675–1742) 2.
- 1. Brant WE, Helms CA. Fundamentals of Diagnostic Radiology. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2007) ISBN:0781761352. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 2. William Alexander Newman Dorland. Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. (2018) ISBN: 9781416023647
- 3. FIPAT. Terminologia Anatomica. 2nd Ed. FIPAT.library.dal.ca. Federative International Programme for Anatomical Terminology, 2019. https://fipat.library.dal.ca/TA2/