THE ANATOMY OF THE FEMALE GUBERNACULUM IS DIFFERENT FROM THE MALE

Authors


  • *This paper was presented at the Royal Australian College of Surgeons' General Scientific Meeting in Wellington. New Zealand. May 1990.

**Mr John M. Hutson. Department of General Surgery. Royal Children's Hospital, Flemington Road. Parkville. Vic. 3052. Australia.

Abstract

The round ligament, or female gubernaculum, is believed to terminate in the labium majorum. In the 30-week old male foetus, however, the gubernaculum ends outside the external ring, later migrating into the scrotum under androgenic control. We studied the round ligament anatomy in the female to define its position and to see whether it reaches the labium. Post-mortem examination of 10 females (0–11 years), dying of non-genital disorders defined the anatomy of the round ligament by dissection and photography. The round ligament ended just outside the external ring in all females, with neither attachment, nor extension, to the caudal labium. A short processus vaginalis (canal of Nuck) was found in I patient. This study showed that the round ligament fails to reach the caudal labium, which is the homologue of the hemiscrotum. The migration of the male gubemaculum into the scrotum to enable descent of the testis does not occur in females. The description of the round ligament in standard textbooks of anatomy should be amended.

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