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Umbilical cord


Reviewers: Mandolin Ziadie, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 29 November 2011, last major update November 2011
Copyright: (c) 2003-2011, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● Twisted “cable” that connects the fetus to the placenta and carries the two umbilical arteries and a single umbilical vein
● 2 arteries often merge near end of cord
● Vessels branch out over the fetal surface to form the villous tree

Gross description

● Average size: 55–60 cm length and 2.0–2.5 cm diameter
● Insertion is normally central by mid-gestation, but may become more eccentric as gestation proceeds

Micro description

Umbilical arteries: double layered muscular wall, no internal elastic lamina
Umbilical vein: larger diameter, thin wall with single layer of disorganized circular smooth muscle and an internal elastic lamina; no intima

Micro images

Normal 3 vessel cord

Wharton’s jelly

Umbilical artery

Umbilical vein

End of Placenta > Umbilical cord > Normal

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