The fallopian tubes, also known as uterine tubes, oviducts or salpinges (singular salpinx), are paired tubes in the human female that stretch from the uterus to the ovaries. The fallopian tubes are part of the female reproductive system. In other mammals they are only called oviducts.
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|Artery||tubal branches of ovarian artery, tubal branch of uterine artery via mesosalpinx|
|Lymph||lumbar lymph nodes|
Each tube is a muscular hollow organ that is on average between 10 and 14 cm (3.9 and 5.5 in) in length, with an external diameter of 1 cm (0.39 in). It has four described parts: the intramural part, isthmus, ampulla, and infundibulum with associated fimbriae. Each tube has two openings a proximal opening nearest and opening to the uterus, and a distal opening furthest and opening to the abdomen. The fallopian tubes are held in place by the mesosalpinx, a part of the broad ligament mesentery that wraps around the tubes. Another part of the broad ligament, the mesovarium suspends the ovaries in place.
An egg cell is transported from an ovary to a fallopian tube where it may be fertilized in the ampulla of the tube. The fallopian tubes are lined with simple columnar epithelium with hairlike extensions called cilia which together with peristaltic contractions from the muscular layer, move the fertilized egg (zygote) along the tube. On its journey to the uterus the zygote undergoes cell divisions that changes it to a blastocyst an early embryo, in readiness for implantation.
Almost a third of cases of infertility are caused by fallopian tube pathologies. These include inflammation, and tubal obstructions. A number of tubal pathologies cause damage to the cilia of the tube which can impede movement of the sperm or egg.
The name comes from the Italian Catholic priest and anatomist Gabriele Falloppio, for whom other anatomical structures are also named.