• hypogastric nerve;
  • prevertebral fasciae;
  • mesocolon;
  • ureter;
  • human embryology


Semi-serial sections from the lumbosacral region of nine fetuses (8–25 weeks gestation) were examined to clarify the lumbar prevertebral fascial arrangement. The prevertebral fasciae became evident after 12 weeks of age. After 20 weeks of age, the hypogastric nerve (HGN) was sandwiched by two fascial structures; the ventral fascia which seemed to correspond to the mesorectal fascia, whereas the dorsal fascia corresponded to the presacral fascia. These fasciae or the HGN sheaths extended laterally along the ventral aspects of the great vessels and associated lymph follicles. The ventral fascia is, to some extent, fused with the mesocolon descendens on the left side of the body. Notably, the lateral continuation of these two fasciae also sandwiches the left ureter, but not the right ureter, presumably due to modifications by the left-sided fusion fascia. A hypothetical common sheath for the HGN and ureter (i.e., the ureterohypogastric or vesicohypogastric fascia) might thus be an oversimplification. Before retroperitoneal fixation, the morphology of the peritoneal recess along the mesocolon descendens and mesosigmoid suggested interindividual differences in location, shape, and size. Therefore, in adults the ease of surgical separation of the rectum and left-sided colon from the HGN seems to depend on interindividual differences in the development of the embryonic peritoneal recess. On the caudal side of the second sacral segment, fascial structures were restricted along and around the HGN, pelvic splanchnic nerve, and pelvic plexus. The rectal lateral ligament thus seems to represent a kind of migration fascia formed by mechanical stress. Clin. Anat. 21:558–567, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.