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Other Terms: Fallopian tube, Oviduct, Eileiter, Tuba uterina, Salpinx, Trompe utérine, Tubo uterino
The Fallopian (uterine) tubes, or oviducts, are two trumpet-shaped tubes that pass from the superior angles of the uterus to the ovaries in the upper or free margins of the broad ligaments. Their cavities are continuous with the cavity of the uterus, forming a passageway between the exterior and the peritoneal cavity. However, this channel is generally closed at the ovarian end on account of the close proximity of the ovary to the fimbriated end of the tube. Each tube is about ten centimeters (four inches) long. Near the uterine end it is straight and narrow, but widens toward the middle and ends in a trumpet-shaped extremity fringed with a circle of fimbriae. The narrow, uterine end is known as the isthmus of the tube, the widened central portion as the ampulla, and the trumpet-shaped end as the infundibulum, or fimbriated extremity. The width of the tubes varies from about three millimeters (an eighth of an inch) at the uterine end to about fifteen millimeters (three-fifths of an inch) at the ovarian end, the fimbrire often forming an expansion of about twenty-five millimeters (one inch). The Fallopian (uterine) tubes have four coats: serous, fibrous, muscular, and mucous. The serous coat is incomplete, the muscular coat being uncovered along a portion of its circumference where the folds of the broad ligament are attached. The fibrous coat is continuous with the extraperitoneal connective tissue of the broad ligament; it is very rich in vessels. The muscular coat consists of circular and longitudinal layers, the longitudinal being external. The mucous coat is thrown into longitudinal folds; these folds are very simple in the isthmus, but become quite complicated in the ampulla, and generally end in the fimbriae.