Definition - What does Fimbriae mean?

Fimbriae (plural) or fimbria (singular) are the fragile finger-like growths located at the end parts of each fallopian tube. The sole function of fimbriae is to help transport an ovulated egg from the ovary into the fallopian tube. The fimbriae are vital to fertilization of the egg and can become damaged, leading to infertility.

FertilitySmarts explains Fimbriae

When an ovary releases an egg, the ovary itself is not connected to the fallopian tube and relies on the fimbria to transport the egg after it’s released. Under the influence of sex hormones, the fallopian tube next to the ovary releasing the egg becomes erect extending the fimbria closer to the ovary. When the egg is released, it is picked up and swept by the brush-like fingers of the fimbria into the fallopian tube where it ends up either fertilized by sperm resulting in pregnancy, or shed during menstruation.

Untreated and reoccurring sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause infertility by destroying fimbriae, thereby causing the blockage at that end of the fallopian tube; this is known as tubal infertility. A fimbrioplasty is surgical attempt to regain the patency of the fimbria, but due to their delicate anatomy, success rates are low.

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