Median umbilical ligament

The median umbilical ligament is an unpaired ligamentous structure in human anatomy which extends from the apex of the bladder to the umbilicus, on the deep surface of the anterior abdominal wall. It is a fibrous piece of tissue that represents the remnant of the fetal urachus, which forms from the embryonic allantois. It is covered by the median umbilical fold.

Median umbilical ligament
Posterior view of the anterior abdominal wall in its lower half. The peritoneum is in place, and the various cords are shining through. Median umbilical ligament isn't labeled, but it is located just underneath the median umbilical fold, seen in the center of the diagram
FromApex of urinary bladder
LatinLigamentum umbilicale medianum,
ligamentum suspensorium vesicae urinariae
Anatomical terminology

Normal development of the median umbilical ligament is: Allantois (embryonic) Urachus (fetal) Median umbilical ligament (at birth)

Lateral to this structure are the medial umbilical ligament (which is a different structure and should not to be confused) and the lateral umbilical ligament.


It may be used as a landmark for surgeons who are performing laparoscopy, such as laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair. Other than this, it has no function in a born human and may be cut or removed with impunity.

It contains the urachus, which is the obliterated form of the allantois. The allantois forms a communication between the cloaca (terminal part of hindgut) and the amniotic sac during embryonic development. If the urachus fails to close during fetal life, it can result in anatomical abnormalities such as a urachal cyst, urachal fistula, urachal diverticulum or urachal sinus.


    • Median umbilical ligament
    • Median umbilical fold
      • Anatomy figure: 36:03-12 at Human Anatomy Online, SUNY Downstate Medical Center - "Internal surface of the anterior abdominal wall."
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