Fallopian tubes

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Fallopian tubes Fallopio was an outstanding sixteenth-century Italian anatomist (a pupil of Vesalius, who challenged the teaching of Galen); in 1561 he published a description of these tubes, which are also known as oviducts. Each of the two symmetrical tubes has a fringed open end close to an ovary, and leads into the cavity of the uterus. One of the tubes ‘catches’ the ovum discharged from an ovary at the monthly ovulation. The wall is muscular and the lining is covered in cilia — fine fronds whose movement waves the ovum along the tube. If sperm are ascending at the crucial time, fertilization takes place usually in mid-tube, and the embryo is conducted onwards to the uterus.

Stuart Judge

See menstrual cycle; pregnancy; urogenital system.