Reference > Anatomy of the Human Body > Page 417
Henry Gray (1825–1861).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918.
muscle. It arises by tendinous fibers from the front of the pubis and the anterior pubic ligament; the fleshy portion of the muscle passes upward, diminishing in size as it ascends, and ends by a pointed extremity which is inserted into the linea alba, midway between the umbilicus and pubis. This muscle may be wanting on one or both sides; the lower end of the Rectus then becomes proportionately increased in size. Occasionally it is double on one side, and the muscles of the two sides are sometimes of unequal size. It may extend higher than the level stated.

FIG. 399– Diagram of sheath of Rectus. (See enlarged image)

  Besides the Rectus and Pyramidalis, the sheath of the Rectus contains the superior and inferior epigastric arteries, and the lower intercostal nerves.

Variations.—The Rectus may insert as high as the fourth or third rib or may fail to reach the fifth. Fibers may spring from the lower part of the linea alba.

Nerves.—The abdominal muscles are supplied by the lower intercostal nerves. The Obliquus internus and Transversus also receive filaments from the anterior branch of the iliohypogastric and sometimes from the ilioinguinal. The Cremaster is supplied by the external spermatic branch of the genitofemoral and the Pyramidalis usually by the twelfth thoracic.

The Linea Alba.—The linea alba is a tendinous raphé in the middle line of the abdomen, stretching between the xiphoid process and the symphysis pubis. It is placed between the medial borders of the Recti, and is formed by the blending of the aponeuroses of the Obliqui and Transversi. It is narrow below, corresponding to the linear interval existing between the Recti; but broader above, where these muscles diverge from one another. At its lower end the linea alba has a double attachment—its superficial fibers passing in front of the medial heads of the Recti to the symphysis pubis, while its deeper fibers form a triangular lamella, attached behind the Recti to the posterior lip of the crest of the pubis, and named the adminiculum lineæ albæ. It presents apertures for the passage of vessels and nerves; the umbilicus, which in the fetus exists as an aperture and transmits the umbilical vessels, is closed in the adult.

FIG. 400– Diagram of a transverse section through the anterior abdomina wall, below the linea semicircularis. (See enlarged image)

The Lineæ Semilunares.—The lineæ semilunares are two curved tendinous lines placed one on either side of the linea alba. Each corresponds with the lateral border of the Rectus, extends from the cartilage of the ninth rib to the pubic tubercle, and is formed by the aponeurosis of the Obliquus internus at its line of division to enclose the Rectus, reinforced in front by that of the Obliquus externus, and behind by that of the Transversus.

Actions.—When the pelvis and thorax are fixed, the abdominal muscles compress the abdominal viscera by constricting the cavity of the abdomen, in which action they are materially assisted by the descent of the diaphragm. By these means assistance is given in expelling the feces from the rectum, the urine from the bladder, the fetus from the uterus, and the contents of the stomach in vomiting.
  If the pelvis and vertebral column be fixed, these muscles compress the lower part of the thorax, materially assisting expiration. If the pelvis alone be fixed, the thorax is bent directly forward, when the muscles of both sides act; when the muscles of only one side contract, the trunk is bent toward that side and rotated toward the opposite side.


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