The myometrium (muscular coat ; tunica muscularis) forms the chief bulk of the substance of the uterus. In the virgin it is dense, firm, of a grayish color, and cuts almost like cartilage. It is thick opposite the middle of the body and fundus, and thin at the orifices of the uterine tubes. It consists of bundles of unstriped muscular fibers, disposed in layers, intermixed with areolar tissue, bloodvessels, lymphatic vessels, and nerves. The layers are three in number: external, middle, and internal. The external and middle layers constitute the muscular coat proper, while the inner layer is a greatly hypertrophied muscularis mucosæ. During pregnancy the muscular tissue becomes more prominently developed, the fibers being greatly enlarged.

The external layer, placed beneath the peritoneum, is disposed as a thin plane on the vesical and intestinal surfaces. It consists of fibers which pass transversely across the fundus, and, converging at each lateral angle of the uterus, are continued on to the uterine tube, the round ligament, and the ligament of the ovary: some passing at each side into the broad ligament, and others running backward from the cervix into the sacrouterine ligaments. The middle layer of fibers presents no regularity in its arrangement, being disposed longitudinally, obliquely, and transversely. It contains more bloodvessels than either of the other two layers. The internal or deep layer consists of circular fibers arranged in the form of two hollow cones, the apices of which surround the orifices of the uterine tubes, their bases intermingling with one another on the middle of the body of the uterus. At the internal orifice these circular fibers form a distinct sphincter.


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