Umbilical cord
Furcate insertion

Author: Paul J. Kowalski, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 28 July 2016, last major update July 2016

Copyright: (c) 2003-2016,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Umbilical cord [title] furcate insertion
Cite this page: Furcate insertion. website. Accessed March 29th, 2017.
Definition / General
  • The grossly visible branching of the umbilical vessels before their insertion onto the placental surface
  • The protective substance, known as Wharton’s jelly, which covers the umbilical cord is lost at the cord’s insertion end
  • The cord displays less tubular integrity and the umbilical vessels divide or branch before reaching the placental surface
  • Umbilical vessels unsupported by Wharton’s jelly are more subject to shearing forces potentially causing rupture or hemorrhage
  • There are no known causative factors
Clinical Features
  • Usually, no clinical significance is associated with furcate insertion
  • Very rarely, fetal hemorrhage has been described
Radiology Description
  • Furcate insertion can be detected on an ultrasound scan
Prognostic Factors
  • Generally very good, unless the rare situation of hemorrhage from the unprotected portions of vessel occur
Case Reports
Gross Description
  • The umbilical vessels are seen to divide before reaching the placental surface, usually only involving the distal most 1-4 cm of the cord
  • Hemorrhage surrounding the vessels may very rarely indicate vascular rupture
Gross Images

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Gross pathology of the placenta

Furcate cord insertion with thrombosis

Micro Description
  • Usually no significant microscopic changes are observed