Superficial Inguinal Ring

Superficial inguinal ring is an anatomical structure in the anterior abdominal wall. It is a triangular shaped defect in the aponeuorsis of external oblique muscle, present at a level immediately above and medial to the pubic tubercle. The margins of the superficial inguinal ring give attachment to the external spermatic fascia, one of the three coverings of the spermatic cord.

The superficial inguinal ring houses the ilioinguinal nerve, the genital branch of genitofemoral nerve and the spermatic cord (in males) or the round ligament of uterus (in females).

Clinical significance of superficial inguinal ring:

Under normal conditions, the superficial inguinal ring is palpable. It becomes dilated in a condition known as athletic pubalgia, a medical condition of the groin affecting athletes.

In inguinal hernia, the abdominal contents may protrude through the ring.

Common frustration for medical students:

Medical students are commonly unable to observe the superficial and deep inguinal rings as open. It must be kept in mind that the external spermatic fascia is attached to the margins of superficial inguinal ring and the internal spermatic fascia is attached to the margins of deep inguinal ring. Due to this, the edges of the rings cannot be observed as holes or openings. Compare this arrangement with the openings for the fingers when the glove is viewed from the outside.