Pampiniform Plexus

Testicular Vein

Ovarian Vein

A major part of the spermatic cord, the Pampiniform Plexus coalesces to form two veins, which ascend retroperitoneally on the psoas major, on either side of the testicular artery. These unite to form a single Testicular vein, which opens on the right side into the inferior vena cava at an acute angle, and on the left side into the left renal vein at a right angle. Dilation of this venous network results in the condition of varicocele, a scrotal swelling that feels like a bag of worms. The Ovarian veins arise from the ovary and form a pampiniform plexus in the broad ligament, which reaches the brim of the pelvis. From the plexus are formed two veins that subsequently form the single ovarian vein. The manner of termination of the ovarian veins is like those of the testicular veins.

A varicocele is engorgement of the multiple testicular veins (pampiniform plexus) within the spermatic cord above the testis (most often these multiple veins coalesce to form a singular testicular vein within the abdominal cavity). Varicocele most often occurs on the left side (85%) because of the influence of the drainage of the left testicular vein into the left renal vein, while the right testicular vein drains into the inferior vena cava. Varicoceles should diminish in size or disappear with the individual in the supine position. The sudden onset of a right sided varicocele should raise the question of a retroperitoneal malignancy affecting the right testicular vein. Varicocele may be of etiologic importance in as much as 1/3 of all cases of male infertility. Females equally have a pampiniform plexus within the pelvis, as the multiple ovarian veins leave the ovary and become constituents of the suspensory ligament of the ovary (infundibulopelvic ligament).