Male Reproductive Anatomy

Male Reproductive Anatomy

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The Anatomy of the Male Reproductive System

The male reproductive system contains seven parts, all of which contribute to the production, maturation and storage of sperm. These parts are the penis, the testes and epididymis, the scrotum, the spermatic cord, the prostate gland, the bulbourethral glands and the seminal vesicles. In order to gain an understanding of how the male reproductive system works, it is important to look at each of these parts in greater detail.

The Penis

The penis is made up of three distinct anatomical parts; the root, the body and the glans. At the root, the penis is fixed to the pelvic floor. The body is the length of the penis and the glans is located at the tip of the penis and houses the urethral opening.

The Testes and Epididymis

The testes and epididymis are located within the scrotum. They are suspended from the spermatic cord, which consists of blood vessels, nerves and ducts that connect the testes to the pelvic cavity. The testes are responsible for the production, maturation and storage of sperm.

The Scrotum

The scrotum is a fibromuscular sac that lies posteriorly to the penis. It contains the testes and epididymis. Underneath the skin lies the dartos muscle, which helps to adjust the surface area of the scrotum and regulate its internal temperature.

The Spermatic Cord

The spermatic cord contains multiple important structures, including the testicular artery, pampiniform plexus of testicular veins and vas deferens. Collectively, these structures are responsible for transporting sperm to the penis.

The Prostate Gland

The prostate gland is situated inferiorly to the bladder. It produces enzymes that are secreted into the semen and are responsible for maintaining its fluid state. These enzymes enter the prostatic urethra via prostatic ducts. Anatomically, the prostate gland consists of three zones; the central, transitional and peripheral zones, which contain various pathologies.

The Bulbourethral Glands

The bulbourethral glands, or Cowper's glands, are located posterolaterally to the membranous urethra. They produce a mucus secretion which lubricates the urethra, expels any remaining urine from the urethra and neutralise any remaining acidity within the urethra.

The Seminal Vesicles

The seminal vesicles are located superiorly to the prostate gland and drain a fructose-rich alkaline fluid into the prostatic urethra. This fluid is responsible for nourishing the sperm and providing a source of energy, allowing them to remain viable for up to five days after ejaculation.

The anatomy of the male reproductive system is comprised of numerous complex parts all working together to facilitate the production of sperm. By understanding how each of these parts works, we can gain a greater insight into how the male reproductive system functions and how it may be affected by various factors and issues.

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