The ligamentum teres is a type of round ligament found in specific areas of the body. Some of these area include the uterus and the liver. The ligamentum teres can also be found in the elbow and the femur. The precise role of the round ligament is dependent upon the area of the body in which it resides. In fact, in some instances, the usefulness of the ligament is not known by those in the medical community.
Perhaps the most widely-known of the round ligaments is the ligamentum teres uteri. This ligament is found in the uterus and becomes vital during pregnancy. The round ligament of the uterus works to provide support and hold the uterus in place as the fetus begins to grow. As the uterus gets larger during pregnancy, pain or discomfort can result from this area of the body.
Expectant mothers are often concerned about the pain caused by the expanding uterus. This pain commonly presents as a dull ache, which can occasionally give way to sudden short bursts of stabbing pain. This type of discomfort is not dangerous to the mother or to the fetus. If the pains last more than just a few seconds, a medical professional should be consulted to make sure there is not a more serious issue that needs to be addressed.
The round ligament found in the liver is known as the ligamentum teres hepatis. The primary function is to connect the umbilicus, or naval, to the liver. This connection takes place in the left lobe of the liver. This ligament also helps to divide the liver into sections. Interestingly, it originates as an umbilical vein in the fetus. Shortly after birth, it begins to degenerate, becoming the ligamentum teres hepatis.
There is another round ligament found at the head of the femur. A more common name for the femur is the thigh bone. This ligament has been known by the term ligamentum teres femoris. This ligament is thought to be relatively important in childhood, assisting with various forms of movement. After childhood, the effects of this ligament are believed to be greatly diminished.
The round ligament found in the elbow is another type of ligamentum teres. There are several names given to this particular ligament, the most common being the oblique cord. This ligament is found in the lower arm, between the bones known as the radius and ulna. Scientists have not been able to find any useful function for this part of the body. In fact, when this ligament is cut, there does not appear to be any negative consequences to the patient.