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The pelvic cavity is divided into two regions, the greater or false pelvis between the ala of the ilia and the true pelvis below the arcuate line. The greater pelvis contains abdominal viscera, such as the ileum, and for that reason is called the false pelvis. Below the level of the arcuate line, which forms the pelvic brim, you will find the internal “creative” organs (the organs of sexual reproduction), as well as excretory organs, including the bladder and the rectum. In the female pelvis, the primary creative organ is the uterus with the ovaries situated at the end of the uterine tube. The cervix is the portion of the uterus that resides within the vagina. Note the various portions of the broad ligament that covers and suspends these organs before proceeding to identify the branches of the internal iliac artery.

  1. Identify the urinary bladder.

  2. Identify the ureters as they enter the urinary bladder on either side of the trigone of the bladder.

  3. Locate the uterus and its portions, the fundus, the body, and the cervix (Figure 8.1).

Figure 8.1

An anterio-superior view of the internal structures of the female pelvis.

  1. Identify the uterine tube and its regions, the isthmus closest to the uterus, the ampulla, which is an intermediate region, and the infundibulum most laterally.

  2. The infundibulum ends in the fimbria, which are finger-like projections toward the ovaries.

  3. Now identify the rectum posterior to the uterus.

  4. The folds of the peritoneum create several spaces in relation to these organs. These include the vesicouterine pouch between the bladder (or “vesicle”) and the uterus; and the rectouterine pouch between the rectum and the uterus.

  5. Identify the broad ligament. This is a fold of peritoneum, which covers the pelvic cavity and which is composed of an anterior and posterior leaf.

  6. The portion of the broad ligament that covers the uterus is the mesometrium.

  7. The mesosalpinx covers the uterine tubes.

  8. The mesovarium covers the ovaries.

  9. The ovaries are attached to the posterior wall by way of the suspensory ligament of the ovary. Identify these structures. The ovarian artery and vein are located within the suspensory ligament.

  10. The ovaries are also attached horizontally to the body of the uterus via the proper ovarian ligament.

  11. Identify the round ligament of the uterus (or ligamentum teres uteri), which passes from the lateral side of the uterus to the deep inguinal ring and eventually attaching to the mons pubis.


The male pelvis has many analogous structures as the female pelvis, as they develop along similar pathways from similar structures. In the male, the uterus is replaced by the prostate, which is a secretory, contractile organ that synthesizes components of the semen stored in ...

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