Superficial inguinal ring

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Superficial inguinal ring
Front of abdomen, showing surface markings for arteries and inguinal canal (superficial inguinal ring labeled as subcutaneous inguinal ring at lower left)
The superficial inguinal ring.
LatinAnulus inguinalis superficialis
Anatomical terminology

The superficial inguinal ring (subcutaneous inguinal ring or external inguinal ring) is an anatomical structure in the anterior wall of the mammalian abdomen. It is a triangular opening that forms the exit of the inguinal canal, which houses the ilioinguinal nerve, the genital branch of the genitofemoral nerve, and the spermatic cord (in men) or the round ligament (in women). At the other end of the canal, the deep inguinal ring forms the entrance.[1]

It is found within the aponeurosis of the external oblique, immediately above the pubic crest, 1 centimeter above and superolateral to the pubic tubercle. It has the following boundaries—medial crura by pubic crest, lateral crura by pubic tubercle and inferiorly by inguinal ligament.[2]

Clinical significance[edit]

The superficial ring is palpable[3] under normal conditions. It becomes dilated in a condition called athletic pubalgia. Abdominal contents may protrude through the ring in inguinal hernia.


See also[edit]


This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 1315 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  1. ^ James Harmon, M.D., Ph.D., Lecture 13. Human Gross Anatomy. University of Minnesota. September 4, 2008.
  2. ^ Kyung Won, PhD. Chung (2005). Gross Anatomy (Board Review). Hagerstown, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 198. ISBN 0-7817-5309-0.
  3. ^ Moore & Agur, Essential Clinical Anatomy (2007)

External links[edit]

  • Anatomy photo:35:09-0101 at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center - "Anterior Abdominal Wall: Borders of the Superficial Inguinal Ring"
  • Anatomy figure: 36:01-13 at Human Anatomy Online, SUNY Downstate Medical Center - "The inguinal canal and derivation of the layers of the spermatic cord."