Uterine tubes, salpinges, tuba uterina, oviductus
Following ovulation, the secondary oocyte surrounded by a few granulosa cells is released into the peritoneal cavity. The nearby uterine tube, either left or right, receives the oocyte. Unlike sperm, oocytes lack flagella, and therefore cannot move on their own. High concentrations of estrogen that occur around the time of ovulation induce contractions of the smooth muscle along the length of the uterine tube. These contractions occur every 4 to 8 seconds and the result is a coordinated movement that sweeps the surface of the ovary and the pelvic cavity. Current flowing toward the uterus is generated by coordinated beating of the cilia that line the outside and lumen of the length of the uterine tube. These cilia beat more strongly in response to the high estrogen concentrations that occur around the time of ovulation. As a result of these mechanisms, the oocyte–granulosa cell complex is pulled into the interior of the tube. Once inside, the muscular contractions and beating cilia move the oocyte slowly toward the uterus.When fertilization does occur, sperm typically meet the egg while it is still moving through the ampulla. The release of a mature egg does not alternate between the two ovaries and seems to be random. After removal of an ovary, the remaining one produces an egg every month. Occasionally the embryo implants into the fallopian tube instead of the uterus, creating an ectopic pregnancy, commonly known as a "tubal pregnancy".
Embryos have two pairs of ducts to let gametes out of the body; one pair (the Müllerian ducts) develops in females into the Fallopian tubes, uterus and vagina, while the other pair (the Wolffian ducts) develops in males into the epididymis and vas deferens.Normally, only one of the pairs of tubes will develop while the other regresses and disappears in utero.The homologous organ in the male is the rudimentary appendix testis.
The fallopian tubes, also known as uterine tubes and salpinges (singular salpinx), are two very narrow tubes that start from the uterine horn and funnel into the abdominal cavity near the ovary. Each uterine tube is approximately 7 to 12 cm in length and less than 1 cm in diameter and connects a single ovary to the uterus.
Fallopian tubes are uterine appendages located bilaterally at the superior portion of the uterine cavity. They consist of three parts (lateral to medial) (Pic. 1):
The point where the tubal canal meets the peritoneal cavity is called tubal ostium, while the uterine opening of the fallopian tube is the entrance into the uterine cavity, the utero-tubal junction.
The uterine tubes have three layers of musculature:
A cross section of fallopian tube shows four distinct layers:
The serosa is the outermost layer derived from visceral peritoneum. Subserosa is composed of loose adventitious tissue, blood vessels, lymphatics, an outer longitudinal and inner circular smooth muscle coats. This layer is responsible for peristaltic action of fallopian tube. Lamina propria is a vascular connective tissue.
There are two types of cells within the simple columnar epithelium of the fallopian tube (oviduct) (Pic. 2):
As mentioned above, the tubal epithelium is responsive to the estrogen and progesterone levels during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and the menopause. The proliferative phase is characterized by elevated epithelium with ciliated and secretory cells of equal height. The luteal phase shows lower ciliated cells with higher and more prominent cytoplasm, sometimes with rupture and extrusion of the cytoplasm into the lumen. During menstruation and post-menstruation, cells are lower and smaller. During pregnancy, tubal epithelium remains low. There is considerable variation in postmenopausal changes in the tubal epithelium. Apparently significant secretory activity ceases, but the onset of atrophy is variable and deciliation may not occur until years after the menopause.
A medical condition, where the walls of the uterus stick to one another due to bands of scar tissue.
Inborn morphological deviation of the uterus - one of the Müllerian duct anomalies where the uterine cavity is divided in the upper part.
Cancer that arises from the endometrium, the lining of the uterus.
The finger like overgrowths attached to the inner wall of the uterus that extend into the uterine cavity which are made of endometrial tissue
A state in which pieces of the tissue alike to the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grow in other parts of the body.
An obstruction prevents the egg or sperm from traveling down the tube, thus making fertilization impossible.
Hematosalpinx is a medical condition involving bleeding into the fallopian tube.
A hydrosalpinx is an abnormal pouch containing liquid in a fallopian tube.
A medical term which describes a diminished functional activity of the gonads – the testes and ovaries.
A surgery performed to remove a woman's uterus.
Light or infrequent menstrual ﬂow at intervals of 39 days to 6 months or 5–7 cycles in a year.
A type of cancer in which abnormal cells begin to grow in one or both of a woman's ovaries.
Surgical removal of one or both ovaries.
A form of abdominal adhesions in the pelvis.
Infection of the upper part of the female reproductive system and a common complication of some sexually transmitted diseases.
A distally blocked Fallopian tube filled with pus.
A permanent form of female sterilization, in which the fallopian tubes are severed and sealed or "pinched shut", in order to prevent fertilization.
The type of blockage that affects the part of the fallopian tube end towards the ovary.
The most common benign smooth muscle tumors of the uterus encountered in women of reproductive age.
A type of female genital malformation resulting from an abnormal development of the Müllerian duct(s) during embryogenesis.
Congenital uterine malformation where both Müllerian ducts develop but fail to fuse, thus the woman has a "double uterus".
A form of a congenital malformation where the uterine cavity is partitioned by a longitudinal septum. It is one of Müllerian duct anomalies.
The ovum-producing organs of the internal female reproductive system
The cell formed by the union of a sperm and an oocyte.
A disease involving the heart and the blood vessels, such as coronary artery disease.
The failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.
A side effect, comprising menstrual pain, abnormal bleeding and changes in behavior, observed in some patients after tubal ligation.
Retrograde flow of menstrual fluid through fallopian tubes into the pelvic cavity.