Differences in the morphology of the processus vaginalis with sex and underlying disease condition

Pathol Res Pract. 2000;196(11):767-70. doi: 10.1016/s0344-0338(00)80109-0.


The structures of sacs from boys and girls with inguinal hernia, and from boys with undescended testis or hydrocele were evaluated and compared. Particular attention was directed to determine if a clue helpful in describing the mechanism of obliteration of processus vaginalis (PV) exists. Sacs from boys (n: 8) and girls (n: 11) with inguinal hernia, and sacs from boys with undescended testis (n: 11) and hydrocele (n: 10) were obtained and stained with hematoxylin-eosin, trichrome and elastic van Gieson. The histologic structures of each group of samples were determined and compared. Smooth muscle was presented as a layer within the sacs of girls and boys with inguinal hernia. However, smooth muscle bundles were sparsely presented in sacs associated with undescended testis and hydrocele. Myofibroblasts were commonly encountered in sacs associated with inguinal hernia. The smooth muscle was invariably presented in sacs that contained myofibroblasts. While sacs from boys only had smooth muscle, sacs from girls also had striated muscle. Since the muscle components of sacs vary, PV is sexually dimorphic. Persistence of PV seems to be associated with the presence of smooth muscle and myofibroblasts within the sac wall. Myofibroblasts may have originated from the smooth muscle, and reflect the attempts at obliteration of PV.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cryptorchidism / pathology*
  • Female
  • Hernia, Inguinal / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Inguinal Canal / pathology*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Smooth / pathology
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Testicular Hydrocele / pathology*