Let's take a closer look at the uterine tubes, and the ovaries. Close to them we're going to meet a number of structures known as ligaments. That's a word that's applied quite loosely in this region, to name anything from a distinct tendon-like cord to a delicate peritoneal fold.
The two uterine tubes, commonly called the Fallopian tubes, arise on each side from the upper part of the uterus. To see the tube more clearly, we'll look at it under water. The uterine tube widens along its length. It's divided arbitrarily into the isthmus, the ampulla, and the infundibulum. The uterine tube opens into the peritoneal cavity.
The opening of the uterine tube is surrounded, and concealed, by these delicate mucosal fronds, the fimbriae. The opening, the abdominal ostium, is here. Normally the infundibulum is curled around so that the fimbria touch the ovary. The uterine tube is attached to the broad ligament by this double fold of peritoneum, the mesosalpinx
Next we'll look at the ovary, and at the broad ligament and its associated structures. These are the mesovarium, mesosalpinx, the round ligament, and the suspensory ligament of the ovary.
We'll pull the uterus forwards to see the ovary. Here's the ovary. In a young adult it's much larger, as we'll see. The ovary hangs from the back of the broad ligament, on its own peritoneal fold, the mesovarium. The medial pole of the ovary is attached to the uterus by this cord, the ligament of the ovary, also called the proper ligament of the ovary.
The ovarian blood vessels cross the pelvic brim here, and pass beneath the peritoneum to reach the lateral pole of the ovary. They create this peritoneal fold, the suspensory ligament of the ovary, also called the infundibulo-pelvic ligament. It forms the highest part of the broad ligament complex.
The anterior aspect of the broad ligament is tented forward by the cord-like round ligament, which passes laterally, then forward to pass through the inguinal canal.
We've been seeing the reproductive organs of individuals who had lived a long time. In a younger adult, the ovaries and the uterus are much more substantial, as we can see in this view of the female pelvic organs made during a laparascopic procedure on an individual of childbearing age.
Here our view is reversed: this is anterior, this is posterior. Here's the uterus, here are the uterine tubes, hanging backwards, here are the round ligaments. Here we're looking down into the recto-uterine pouch. Here's the right broad ligament, with the round ligament running within it. Here's the right ovary, hanging on its mesovarium. When we pick up the ampulla of the uterine tube with forceps we can see the fimbria, the ovary, and the suspensory ligament of the ovary.