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Other Terms: Ovarium, Ovaire, Eierstock, Ovario
The ovaries, the sexual glands of the female, are two almond-shaped bodies each with two margins, two ends, and two surfaces; they are approximately four centimeters (an inch and a half) long, two and a half centimeters (one inch) wide, and one and a quarter centimeters (a half inch) thick, though varying considerably in size, and weigh about seven grams (half an ounce). They are smooth and pink in the young, and puckered and gray in the elderly. They are usually suspended in a small secondary fold or peritoneum, the mesovarium, which is derived from the posterior surface of the broad ligaments. In the virgin the ovary lies against the lateral pelvic wall in a hollow (ovarian fossa of Claudius) just beneath the external iliac vessels. The surfaces usually face medialward and lateralward, while the borders are directed forward and backward. The anterior border is Iess curved than the posterior, and is thinner. It is at this border that the vessels and nerves enter and leave the ovary, and the peritoneal layers unite. The posterior border is free and rounded and enveloped by peritoneum, the entire ovary having the appearance of being hung upon the back of the broad ligament by its anterior edge. The ends of the ovary are tubal and uterine. The upper, or tubal, pole is connected with the fimbriated extremity of the Fallopian (uterine) tube by one of its fimbriae, and has passing from it a peritoneal fold, the infundibulo-pelvic ligament (suspensory ligament of the ovary) , to the lateral pelvic wall. The lower, or uterine, pole is connected with the uterus by a round cord, the utero-ovarian ligament (ligament of the ovary) , which is attached to the side of the body of the uterus between the Fallopian (uterine) tube and the round ligament. The surface of the ovary is smooth before puberty, but after this period it becomes more uneven with advancing age, because of the pitting due to scars following the periodical rupture of Graafian vesicles.