Ovary - nontumor

Topic Completed: 1 December 2011

Revised: 13 December 2019

Copyright: 2002-2019, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Ovary "normal anatomy"

Mohiedean Ghofrani, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 616
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Cite this page: Ghofrani M Anatomy. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/ovarynontumornormal.html. Accessed February 27th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Paired ovoids on either side of the uterus close to lateral pelvic wall, behind broad ligament, anterior to rectum

    Each ovary is connected:
  • Along its anterior (hilar) margin to posterior aspect of broad ligament by mesovarium (double fold of peritoneum)
  • At its medial pole to ipsilateral uterine cornu by utero-ovarian ligament
  • At superior aspect of lateral pole to lateral pelvic side wall by infundibulopelvic (suspensory) ligament

  • Premenopausal ovaries are each 3 - 5 cm long and weigh 5 - 8 g; size and weight depends on amount of follicular derivatives (cysts and corpora albicantia / lutea); shrink to about half their size after menopause
  • Neonates often have cysts, which resolve spontaneously (J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab 2007;20:397)
  • Pink white exterior is initially smooth but gradually becomes more convoluted
  • Cystic follicles and corpora lutea may be visible from outside
  • Cut section may exhibit three zones: cortex, medulla and hilus, with follicular derivatives usually in the cortex and medulla
  • Arterial supply: approximately 10 arterial branches from anastomotic arcade of ovarian artery (branch of aorta) and ovarian branch of uterine artery penetrate hilus into medulla and cortex
  • Venous drainage: left ovarian vein drains to left renal vein, right ovarian vein drains to inferior vena cava
  • Lymphatic drainage: originates predominantly from theca layer of follicles, exiting through the hilus, to the mesovarium, along the infundibulopelvic ligament, into upper paraaortic lymph nodes; may bypass to internal iliac, external iliac, common iliac, sacral, obturator, pelvic, retroperitoneal or inguinal nodes
  • Function first described by Reinier de Graaf (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2000;124:1115)
  • Ovulation: induces cyclic rupture and regenerative repair of the ovarian surface epithelium
Diagrams / tables


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Clinical images

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Ovary about to release an egg

Additional references
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