Ultrasound of the Inguinal Canal in Children: A Pictoral Essay

Eu Leong Harvey Teo, Diagnostic Imaging and Intervention KK Women's and Children's Hospital

Learning Objectives:

To illustrate the anatomy of the inguinal canal on ultrasound.To familiarize the reader with pathologies that may be encountered in the paediatric inguinal canal.


The inguinal canal is a passage that extends inferiorly and medially through the inferior part of the abdominal wall.  The spermatic cord in males and the round ligament in females pass through the canal.  The patent processus vaginalis (PV) is an embryonic developmental outpouching of the peritoneum that passes through the inguinal canal and usually closes by 2 months of age. Failure of closure results in an abnormal communication between the peritoneal cavity and the scrotum in males, and the labia majora in females. This may result in a number of conditions whose imaging findings will be shown in this poster. A patent processus vaginalis in females is known as the Canal of Nuck.

Imaging Findings:

This poster will illustrate the anatomy of the inguinal canal. The ultrasound findings of a wide range of pathologies such as inguinal hernias containing incarcerated bowel, omentum, ovaries, uterus, the appendix and Meckel’s diverticulum, as well as pathologies such as testicular torsion, cryptorchidism and hydrocoeles-communicating and non-communicating will be shown. 


After reviewing this poster the reader will be familiar with the ultrasound anatomy of the inguinal canal and as well as the imaging findings of pathologies that may occur within it.

View the Poster Here