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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 14 - Male Reproductive System

Plate 14.277 Penis

Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger, Jr., Ph.D.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed

Cross section

Plate 14.277 Penis

Human, 10% formalin, carmine stain, 2 x.


The penis is formed primarily of three cylindrical masses of erectile tissue. Note the paired corpora cavernosa and the ventrally placed corpus spongiosum (corpus spongiosum urethrae) containing the urethra. A dense collagenous tissue capsule, the tunica albuginea, surrounds the corpora cavernosa. This capsule fuses in the midline to form the pectinate septum, which is thickest and most complete near the root of the penis. The tunica albuginea of the corpus spongiosum is thin. Each corpus consists of a network of cavernous vascular sinuses lined with endothelium, separated by fibromuscular trabeculae composed of connective tissue and smooth muscle fibers.

The three corpora are encompassed by a common, loose connective tissue fascia rich in elastic fibers and a thin skin. Note the dorsal vessels (arteries and veins) of the penis, located in the fascia, which are part of the complicated blood supply of this organ. See also Plate 278.  

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