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I was always curious as to if or how much of the internal structure or workings of the umbilical cord are still in existence as we age. What happens to it over time?

The wikipedia article naval almost exclusively describes physical appearance and only touches on some disorders that affect physical appearance.

Then the wikipedia article on umbilical cord explains what happens briefly after birth, and only touches on it becoming part of the circulatory system. What does it actually do in later life, as part of that system?

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  • $\begingroup$ It's considered appropriate on biology.se that you present some of your reading/research with your question. What have you read about the human umbilicus? The site tour and the help center provide guidance on how to use this site. Please take a few minutes to read about the kind of questions which are on topic here. $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Feb 12 '15 at 3:50
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    $\begingroup$ @anongoodnurse added research that was useless $\endgroup$ – David Wilkins Feb 12 '15 at 3:56
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    $\begingroup$ The research wasn't useless. It actually had links to every last bit of what happens to the remains of the umbilical structures in the adult. Had you clicked through, you would have found them. $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Feb 12 '15 at 5:56
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The umbilical cord, which contains the umbilical arteries and vein so important for nutrient, oxygen and waste transport before birth, becomes useless pretty much the moment the lungs start working (the kidneys already started before birth). As the baby breathes, the two arteries constrict to stop flow from the newborn to the placenta. The Wharton's Jelly, a structural element in the cord, causes collapse of the vein on cooling to outside temperature. Within a matter of a few minutes, the whole system is shut down.

Within the infant, the umbilical vein and ductus venosus (which carried blood to the liver and the inferior vena cava) close up and degenerate into fibrous remnants known as the round ligament of the liver and the ligamentum venosum respectively. The round ligament basically just divides the left part of the liver into medial and lateral sections. The ligamentum venosum does basically the same thing on the posterior surface of the liver. Both ligaments maintain their attachment to the umbilicus. (The small paraumbilical veins are unimportant except in the case of severe portal hypertension, where they act as a portacaval anastomosis.)

The parts of the arteries closest to the navel degenerate into what are known as the medial umbilical ligaments (which basically serve no purpose whatsoever and are buried in the abdominal wall), while the more internal remaining sections are retained as part of the circulatory system as the umbilical artery.

The umbilical artery in adults is a branch of the anterior division of the internal iliac artery. The umbilical artery is found in the pelvis, and gives rise to the superior vesical arteries (supplying the superior part of the bladder, and parts of the ureters. In males, it also gives rise to the the deferential artery which supplies the ductus deferens.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget the urachus. $\endgroup$ – kmm Feb 13 '15 at 1:00
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    $\begingroup$ I didn't. I didn't think it would missed. :-/ $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Feb 13 '15 at 2:04
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    $\begingroup$ Just a wow answer. What is the urachus?! +1 $\endgroup$ – AliceD Feb 13 '15 at 9:13
  • $\begingroup$ Is this one of your my-duty-is-fair-thus-I-close-vote-but-answer-for-the-sake-of-cool-answers projects? $\endgroup$ – AliceD Feb 13 '15 at 9:18
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    $\begingroup$ @ChrisStronks - yep! :-) To be fair, the OP did, at least, indicate that he tried to find out. The urachus is a channel between the bladder and the allantois in the embryology. If it remains patent, urine can drain from the umbilicus, or a cyst can form. Normally it forms the median umbilical ligament, which is just a shriveled piece of tissue. $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Feb 13 '15 at 11:23

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