To help define the boundaries, the canal is often further approximated as a box with six sides. Not including the two rings, the remaining four sides are usually called the "anterior wall", "posterior wall", "roof", and "floor". These consist of the following:
| superior wall (roof):|
| anterior wall:|
aponeurosis of external oblique
aponeurosis of internal oblique (lateral third of canal only)
superficial inguinal ring (medial third of canal only)
|(inguinal canal)|| posterior wall:|
conjoint tendon (medial third of canal only)
deep inguinal ring (lateral third of canal only)
| inferior wall (floor):|
lacunar ligament (medial third of canal only)
iliopubic tract (lateral third of canal only)
One way to remember these structures is with the mnemonic "MALT", starting at the top and going counterclockwise:
The classic description of the contents of inguinal canal in the male are: 3 arteries: artery to vas, testicular artery, cremasteric artery 3 fascial layers: external spermatic,internal spermatic,cremastic 3 other vessels: pampiniform plexus, vas deferens, lymphatics 1 nerve: genital branch of the genitofemoral nerve (L1/2)
The ilioinguinal nerve passes through the superficial ring to descend into the scrotum, but does not formally run through the canal.
A hernia that exits the abdominal cavity directly through the deep layers of the abdominal wall, thereby bypassing the inguinal canal, is known as a direct inguinal hernia.
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