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Surgical female pelvic anatomy

Matthew D Barber, MD, MHS
Amy J Park, MD
Section Editor
Howard T Sharp, MD
Deputy Editor
Kristen Eckler, MD, FACOG


Pelvic surgery requires a comprehensive knowledge of the pelvic anatomy to safely attain access, maximize exposure, ensure hemostasis, and avoid injury to viscera, blood vessels, and nerves.

The anatomy of the female genital tract and lower urinary and gastrointestinal tracts relevant to the surgeon performing laparotomy or laparoscopy, with an emphasis on clinical relevance and avoiding potential complications, is reviewed here. Surgical pelvic anatomy from a vaginal approach and the surgical anatomy of the anterior abdominal wall are discussed separately. (See "Surgical female urogenital anatomy" and "Anatomy of the abdominal wall".)  


Anatomic features that are clinically applicable to female pelvic surgery are indented and bulleted throughout the text.


The female upper genital tract consists of the cervix, uterine corpus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. A sagittal view of the female pelvis is shown in the figure (figure 1).

The anatomy of the lower genital tract, comprised of the vulva and vagina, is discussed separately. (See "Surgical female urogenital anatomy", section on 'Lower genital tract'.)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 26, 2017.
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