Obturator foramen

The obturator foramen (Latin foramen obturatum) is the large opening created by the ischium and pubis bones of the pelvis through which nerves and blood vessels pass.

Obturator foramen
Pelvis. Obturator foramen is 7.
Symphysis pubis exposed by a coronal section. Obturator canal labelled at center.
Latinforamen obturatum
Anatomical terms of bone


It is bounded by a thin, uneven margin, to which a strong membrane is attached, and presents, superiorly, a deep groove, the obturator groove, which runs from the pelvis obliquely medialward and downward.

This groove is converted into the obturator canal by a ligamentous band, a specialized part of the obturator membrane, attached to two tubercles:


Reflecting the overall sex differences between male and female pelvises, the obturator foramina are oval in the male and wider and more triangular in the female.

Additionally, unilateral pelvis hypoplasia can cause differences in size between the obturator foramina, and there are even rare reports of individual pelvises featuring a double obturator foramen in one of the hip bones.[1]


Through the canal the obturator artery, obturator vein and obturator nerve pass out of the pelvis.

See also

Additional images


This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 237 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  1. Apostolos Karantanas; Konstantina Velesiotou & Evagelos Sakellariou (2002). "Double Obturator Foramen". Larissa General Hospital, Greece.
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