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fallopian tube

fallopian tube (fəlōˈpēən), either of a pair of tubes extending from the uterus to the paired ovaries in the human female, also called oviducts, technically known as the uterine tube. At one end the long, slender fallopian tube opens into the uterus; the other end expands into a funnel shape near the ovary. The epithelium that lines the tube is covered with cilia that beat continuously toward the uterus. When an ovum is expelled into the peritoneal cavity from the ovary during ovulation, it is propelled into the wide-mouthed opening of the fallopian tube, through the tube, and into the uterus by the wavelike motion of the cilia. If the ovum is fertilized, an event that normally takes place in the fallopian tube, and the embryo (fertilized ovum) implants in the tube, or another area outside the uterus, an ectopic pregnancy occurs. About 98% of ectopic implantations occur in the tubes, but other sites include the abdomen, ovary, and cervix. Immediate surgical removal of the products of conception is necessary to prevent hemorrhage and other complications resulting from ectopic pregnancy. The fallopian tubes are also the site of the most common surgical procedures used to prevent conception or cause infertility in women. Usually the tubes are tied off in a procedure known as tubal ligation, although they are also sometimes excised or occluded by other methods. See reproductive system; uterus.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a female reproductive duct (usually paired) that serves mainly for the passage of mature eggs, or ova, that have formed in the ovary. The oviduct may be the direct continuation of the ovary (roundworms, arthropods, and echinoderms), or it may be completely isolated from the ovary. In the latter case, the oviduct opens anteriorly into the coelom and posteriorly into the cloaca (most vertebrates) or to the surface (annelid worms and mammals). Sexual funnels of annelid worms serve as the oviducts; most vertebrates have müllerian ducts, which develop from the primary renal duct. The oviducts of sturgeons and Holostei lie next to the ovaries. In most bony fishes the oviducts and ovaries are fused.

The egg is usually propelled through the oviduct by the contraction of the muscular walls or by movement of the cilia of the epithelium lining the cavity of the duct. The oviduct usually has various membranes. Its walls secrete coating substances; sometimes the substances are elaborated only by special regions of the ducts. For example, cephalopod mollusks have a special oviduct gland, and cartilaginous fishes have a shell gland.

The portion of the oviduct in which the eggs or embryos mature is called the uterus. Mammalian eggs are fertilized in the fallopian, or uterine, tubes, which are situated above the uterus. The terminal portion of the oviduct in organisms marked by internal fertilization (with the oviduct opening to the exterior) is called the vagina.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A tube that serves to conduct ova from the ovary to the exterior or to an intermediate organ such as the uterus. Also known in mammals as Fallopian tube; uterine tube.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


the tube through which ova are conveyed from an ovary
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005