The inguinal region, sometimes called the groin, is the lower part of the anterolateral abdominal wall. It’s a small area of great importance, as it serves as a passageway for structures such as the spermatic cord, vessels, and nerves to enter or leave the abdominal cavity.
The inguinal region is a compact space, located superior to the thigh, lateral to the pubic tubercle, and inferomedial to the anterior superior iliac spine.
One important structure in this region is the inguinal ligament, which is a thick fibrous band formed by the inferior border of the external oblique aponeurosis.
The inguinal ligament extends from the anterior superior iliac spine of the ilium, to the pubic tubercle on the pubic bone.
Medially, the inguinal ligament’s attachment to the pubis is reinforced by a number of smaller fibrous extensions, including the lacunar ligament and the pectineal ligament.
The lacunar ligament attaches along the superior pubic ramus and some fibres continue along the pecten pubis as the pectineal ligament.
The lacunar ligament forms the medial border of the subinguinal space, located inferior to the inguinal ligament.
Important structures that pass through this space include the psoas major and iliacus muscles and also the femoral nerve, artery and vein, and the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh.
Now, the most important feature of the inguinal region is the inguinal canal, which is a passage that extends inferomedially through the anterolateral abdominal wall. To better understand the anatomy of this canal, let’s look at how it develops!
In genetically male individuals, the testes begin to develop in the extraperitoneal space of the posterior abdominal wall, and within the first few months each testis descends into the pelvis, pulled by a structure called the gubernaculum, which attaches to the anterolateral abdominal wall - and, later, to the developing scrotum.