Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

ABSORPTION BT THE BLOOD-VESSELS. 
245 
the deep veins, shows that no pressure on the former vein alone can 
cause accumulation of blood in the penis.* 
The sensations of the organs of generation are due to the pudic 
nerves; but the act of erection seems to be principally dependent 
on the organic nervous system, a plexus of delicate filaments belong¬ 
ing to which is given off by the hypogastric plexus, and passes under 
the arch of the pubi$ so as to reach the root of the penis; where the 
nervous filaments composing it unite with branches of the pudic 
nerve, enter with them the substance of the corpora cavernosa penis 
and corpus spongiosum urethræ, and ramify upon the blood-vessels. 
The sensitive nerves of the penis transmit impressions to the spinal 
cord, and through the medium of it probably excite the action of the 
organic nerves and vessels necessary for the production of erection; 
the effusion of blood into the corpora cavernosa follows, and the dis¬ 
tention of the erectile tissue is rendered more perfect by the contrac¬ 
tion of the musculi is chio caver nosi, or erector es penis, which im¬ 
pedes the escape of the blood by the veins. 
In order to ascertain the amount of force necessary to give the 
proper rigidity to the corpora cavernosa by the propulsion of fluid 
into them, I fixed into an opening made into one of those bodies in 
a dead subject, a glass tube six feet in length, and filled this tube, 
held perpendicularly, with water, while the return of the water by 
the veins was prevented by pressure within the pelvis. When the 
column of water attained the height of six feet, the erection of the 
penis was perfect. Hence it appeared that the blood accumulated in 
the penis, during erection, is subjected to a pressure equal to that of 
a column of water of six feet in height, which is about the same 
pressure as that with which the blood moves in the arteries. 
CHAPTER V. 
% 
OF THE ACTION OF THE BLOOD-VESSELS IN THE PROCESS OF 
ABSORPTION AND EXUDATION. 
a. Of Absorption. 
The office of absorption was ascribed to the veins until after the 
discovery of the lacteals by Asellius, in 1622, and subsequently of 
similar vessels—the lymphatics—in most other parts of the body, 
when these latter vessels were supposed to be the sole organs of 
absorption. The fact of the lacteals becoming turgid with chyle 
soon after taking food, and the arrangement of their valves, which 
is such as to favour the course of the chyle and lymph towards the 
thoracic duct, and to prevent its motion in the opposite direction, are 
corroborative of the opinion that they perform the function of absorp- 
I 
* See the article “Erection,” by Müller, in the Encyclop. Wörtenbuch d. me- 
dicin. Wissench. 
21*
        

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