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The Prostate Gland

The prostate gland develops inside the wall of the prostatic urethra.
During embryonic development tiny glands sprout from the inner lining of the prostatic urethra. 

The Prostatic Urethra

The prostatic urethra about 1.5 centimeters in length begins at the opening of the outlet of the bladder and ends at the colliculus seminalis. On the back wall of the prostatic urethra there is a subtle vertical midline ridge, called the urethral crest.

The Distal Sphincter Complex

The internal smooth muscle sphincter and the external striated muscle sphincter together with the posterior midline fibrous raphe comprise the distal sphincter complex.

Anatomy and embryology of the male and female urinary tracts and genital systems for anatomists, embryologists, urologists and gynecologists.

My name is Jeffrey Pollen. I am a proud graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand in 1964. Wits has always had a vibrant anatomy program. As a second year medical student, I was privileged to attend anatomy lectures by the famed Professor Phillip Tobias.


For the past many years, I have been studying and practicing urology, and have an enduring interest in the anatomy and development of the urinary system, and genital tract.


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What's Inside?

This paper presents a detailed review of the anatomy and development of the male and female genital tracts. The development of the Wolffian ducts and Mullerian ducts are followed to their definitive locations in the adult. Special emphasis is given to the developmental origin of vestigial structures found in the male and female genital tracts.


Some descriptions of development and anatomy of the male and female genital tracts, differ from those which appear in traditional texts of anatomy and embryology. The differences are aimed at introducing a more logical explanation of the development and definitive anatomy of the male and female urinary and genital tracts. 
     We know than an understanding embryologic development, is fundamental to understanding adult anatomy.  This text offers a unique insight into the anatomy and development of the prostatic urethra and the so called ‘membranous’ urethra. It also elaborates on the development of the vagina and female urethra.  The origin and anatomy of the male colliculus seminalis is explained. This leads naturally to a detailed description of the anatomy and development of the female colliculus and the vestibule.  It is hoped that the advanced concepts of anatomy and development will lead to an improved comprehension of adult male and female homologous.


A revised nomenclature, of the female vestibule and the male urethra, is proposed, based on developmental anatomy, and physiologic function.

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