The anal canal is the terminal part of the large intestine.[1] It is situated between the rectum and anus,[2] below the level of the pelvic diaphragm. In humans it is approximately 2.5 to 4 inches long. It lies in the anal triangle of perineum in between the right and left ischioanal fossa.

Anal canal
Anorectum-en.svg
Anatomy of the anus and rectum
Gray1079.png
Coronal section through the anal canal. B. Cavity of urinary bladder V.D. Ductus deferens. S.V. Seminal vesicle. R. Second part of rectum. A.C. Anal canal. L.A. Levator ani. I.S. Sphincter ani internus. E.S. Sphincter ani externus.
Details
PrecursorHindgut, proctodeum
Arterysuperior rectal artery (above pectinate line) and inferior rectal artery (below line)
Veinsuperior rectal vein (above pectinate line) and inferior rectal vein (below line)
Nerveautonomic inferior hypogastric plexus (above pectinate line) and somatic inferior rectal nerves (below line)
LymphSuperficial inguinal lymph node (below pectinate line) and internal iliac lymph nodes (above line)
Identifiers
LatinCanalis analis
MeSHD001003
TAA05.7.05.001
FMA15703
Anatomical terminology

The anal canal is the short terminal portion of the rectum through which wastes from the large intestine are excreted from the body. The ring at the terminal portion of the anal canal is called the anus.

The anal canal is between 2.5" and 5" in length and is guarded by two muscles that control the release of waste from the rectum.

The external anal sphincter muscle is the voluntary muscle that surrounds and adheres to the anus at the lower margin of the anal canal. This muscle is in a state of tonic contraction, but during defecation, it relaxes to allow the release of feces.

Movement of the feces is also controlled by the involuntarily controlled internal anal sphincter which an extension of the circular muscle surrounding the anal canal. It relaxes to expel feces from the rectum and anal canal.

Anal canal is divided into three parts. The zona columnaris is the upper half of the canal and is lined by simple columnar epithelium. The lower half of the anal canal, below the pectinate line, is divided into two zones separated by Hilton's white line. The two parts are the zona hemorrhagica and zona cutanea, lined by stratified squamous non-keratinized and stratified squamous keratinized epithelium, respectively.

In humans it is approximately 2.5" to 4" long, extending from the anorectal junction to the anus. It is directed downwards and backwards. It is surrounded by inner involuntary and outer voluntary sphincters which keep the lumen closed in the form of an anteroposterior slit.

Behind this lies the anal gland which secretes lymphal discharge and built up fecal matter from the colon lining. In animals, gland expungement can be done routinely every 24 – 36 months to prevent infection and fistula formation.

It is differentiated from the rectum by the transition of the internal surface from endodermal to skin-like ectodermal tissue.

StructureEdit

The anal canal is divided into two unequal sections, upper and lower.

A whitish line called Hilton's white line indicates the junction between keratinized stratified squamous epithelium and unkeratinized stratified squamous epithelium.

The anal verge is the distal end of the anal canal, forming a transitional zone between the epithelium of the anal canal and the perianal skin. It should not be confused with the "pectinate line".

RelationsEdit

Additional imagesEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Anal+Canal at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
  2. ^ "anal canal" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary

External linksEdit

  • pelvis at The Anatomy Lesson by Wesley Norman (Georgetown University)
  • Anatomy figure: 44:05-00 at Human Anatomy Online, SUNY Downstate Medical Center — "The rectum and anal canal in the male pelvis"