External anal sphincter
|Sphincter ani externus muscle|
|Nerve||Branch from the fourth sacral and contributions from the inferior hemorrhoidal branch of the pudendal nerve|
|Actions||Keep the anal canal and orifice closed|
|Latin||Musculus sphincter ani externus|
|Anatomical terms of muscle|
It measures about 8 to 10 cm in length, from its anterior to its posterior extremity, and is about 2.5 cm opposite the anus, when defecation occurs the sphincter muscle retracts.
It consists of two strata, superficial and deep.
- The superficial, constituting the main portion of the muscle, arises from a narrow tendinous band, the anococcygeal raphe, which stretches from the tip of the coccyx to the posterior margin of the anus; it forms two flattened planes of muscular tissue, which encircle the anus and meet in front to be inserted into the central tendinous point of the perineum, joining with the Transversus perinæi superficialis, the Levator ani, and the Bulbocavernosus.
- The deeper portion forms a complete sphincter to the anal canal. Its fibers surround the canal, closely applied to the internal anal sphincter, and in front blend with the other muscles at the central point of the perineum.
Posteriorly, they are not attached to the coccyx, but are continuous with those of the opposite side behind the anal canal.
The upper edge of the muscle is ill-defined, since fibers are given off from it to join the Levator ani.
The action of this muscle is peculiar.
(2) It can be put into a condition of greater contraction under the influence of the will, so as more firmly to occlude the anal aperture, in expiratory efforts unconnected with defecation.
Anismus is a paradoxical contraction of the external anal sphincter, when the intent is relaxation, which can result in obstructed defecation and constipation. Abnormal function of this muscle is also seen in anorectal malformation and after certain surgeries, including coccygectomy.
Schematic demonstrating the anatomy of hemorrhoids.
- Anatomy photo:42:13-0100 at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center - "The Male Perineum and the Penis: The External Anal Sphincter"
- perineum at The Anatomy Lesson by Wesley Norman (Georgetown University) (analtriangle3)
- pelvis at The Anatomy Lesson by Wesley Norman (Georgetown University) (rectum)