Peritoneum and Peritoneal Cavity

Gross Anatomy


Peritoneum and Peritoneal Cavity


Anatomy Tables for Today's Topic

Peritoneal Specializations
Overview of Abdominal Viscera

Peritoneal Specializations

Structure Location/Description Notes
epiploic foramen passageway between the greater peritoneal sac and the lesser peritoneal sac located posterior to the hepatoduodenal ligament; also known as: omental foramen
gastrocolic ligament peritoneum connecting the greater curvature of the stomach with the transverse colon part of the greater omentum; derived from the dorsal mesogastrium in the embryo
gastrolienal ligament peritoneum connecting the greater curvature of stomach with the hilum of the spleen part of the greater omentum; derived from the dorsal mesogastrium in the embryo; also known as: gastrosplenic ligament
gastrophrenic ligament peritoneum connecting the fundus of the stomach to the left side of the diaphragm above the spleen part of the greater omentum; derived from the dorsal mesogastrium in the embryo
gastrosplenic ligament peritoneum connecting the greater curvature of stomach with the hilum of the spleen part of the greater omentum; derived from the dorsal mesogastrium in the embryo; also known as: gastrolienal ligament
greater omentum apron-like specialization of peritoneum attaching along the greater curvature of the stomach subdivisions: gastrophrenic ligament, gastrosplenic ligament, gastrocolic ligament, omental apron
greater peritoneal sac the portion of the peritoneal cavity that is not located posterior to the stomach the lesser peritoneal sac is the only part of the peritoneal cavity that is not part of the greater peritoneal sac
hepatoduodenal ligament part of the lesser omentum connecting the liver to the 1st part of duodenum hepatoduodenal ligament contains the common bile duct, proper hepatic a. and portal v.; it forms the anterior wall of the omental (epiploic) foramen
hepatogastric ligament part of the lesser omentum connecting the liver to the lesser curvature of the stomach hepatogastric ligament forms the anterior wall of the lesser peritoneal sac
lesser omentum peritoneum stretching between the lesser curvature of the stomach and the visceral surface of the liver subdivisions of the lesser omentum are the heptogastric and hepatoduodenal ligaments; lesser peritoneal sac (omental bursa) lies posterior to the lesser omentum and stomach
lesser peritoneal sac part of the peritoneal cavity located posterior to the stomach and lesser omentum lesser peritoneal sac is continuous with the greater peritoneal sac at the omental (epiploic) foramen; also known as: omental bursa
lienorenal ligament peritoneum that attaches the spleen to the posterior abdominal wall over the left kidney lienorenal ligament develops from the dorsal mesogastrium of the embryo; also known as: splenorenal ligament
omental bursa part of the peritoneal cavity located posterior to the stomach and lesser omentum omental bursa is continuous with the greater peritoneal sac at the omental (epiploic) foramen; also known as: lesser peritoneal sac
omental foramen passageway between the greater peritoneal sac and the lesser peritoneal sac located posterior to the hepatoduodenal ligament; also known as: epiploic foramen
peritoneum serous membrane lining the peritoneal cavity visceral peritoneum lies on the surfaces of the abdominal and pelvic organs; parietal peritoneum lines the inner surfaces of the walls of the abdominopelvic cavity
peritoneum, parietal serous membrane lining the inner surfaces of the walls of the abdominopelvic cavity peritoneum, pleura and pericardium are all serous membranes that formed from the same layer of tissue (splanchnic mesoderm) in the embryo
peritoneum, visceral serous membrane lying on the surfaces of the abdominal and pelvic organs visceral peritoneum is formed from the splanchnic mesoderm in the embryo
sigmoid mesocolon peritoneum connecting the sigmoid colon to posterior abdominal wall branches of the inferior mesenteric a. approach the sigmoid colon within the sigmoid mesocolon; ascending preganglionic parasympathetic axons course through the sigmoid mesocolon an their route from the pelvis (S2,3,4) to the descending colon
splenorenal ligament peritoneum that attaches the spleen to the posterior abdominal wall over the left kidney splenorenal ligament develops from the dorsal mesogastrium of the embryo; also known as: lienorenal ligament
transverse mesocolon peritoneum connecting the transverse colon to the posterior abdominal wall transverse mesocolon represents the fusion of the transverse mesocolon with one layer of the greater omentum in the embryo; it forms the floor of the lesser peritoneal sac

Overview of Abdominal Viscera - Alphabetical

Organ Location/Description Notes
appendix, vermiform terminal portion of the cecum which has a small dead-end lumen vermiform appendix is attached to the posteroinferior surface of the cecum; it is usually located behind the cecum in the right iliac fossa; pain from the appendix projects to McBurney's point on anterior abdominal wall (1/3rd distance along and imaginary line from the anterior superior iliac spine to the umbilicus); it has a complete peritoneal covering and a small mesentery (mesoappendix)
ascending colon part of the large intestine that is continuous with the cecum proximally and the transverse colon at the right colic (hepatic) flexure ascending colon is retroperitoneal
cecum first part of the large intestine which is located in the right lower quadrant cecum is continuous with the ileum (small intestine) at the ileocecal valve; it is continuous with the ascending colon distally; it is intraperitoneal but lacks a mesentery; the vermiform appendix is attached to its posteroinferior surface
descending colon part of the large intestine that is continuous with the transverse colon at the left colic (splenic) flexure and the sigmoid colon at the pelvic brim descending colon is retroperitoneal
duodenojejunal junction part of the small intestine where the duodenum is continuous with the jejunum duodenojejunal junction is located in the left upper quadrant; it is suspended by the suspensory muscle (ligament) of the duodenum; the inferior mesenteric v. passes to left side of the duodenojejunal junction
duodenum proximal segment of the small intestine C-shaped; the duodenum has 4 parts: 1st or superior, 2nd or descending, 3rd or transverse, 4th or ascending
esophagus the portion of the gastrointestinal tract between the pharynx and the stomach connects: superiorly with laryngopharynx at lower border of cricoid cartilage; inferiorly it passes through diaphragm at the T10 vertebral level to reach the stomach; the upper 1/3 is skeletal muscle innervated by the recurrent laryngeal, the lower 2/3rds is smooth muscle innervated by the vagus nn. via the esophageal plexus
gallbladder diverticulum of the biliary tract that hangs below the liver between the right and quadrate lobes located in the right upper quadrant; gallbladder is connected to the common bile duct via the cystic duct; it both stores and concentrates bile; pain from the gallbladder may be referred to the right shoulder
ileocecal junction point at which the ileum joins the cecum ileocecal valve moderates the flow of intestinal contents from the ileum into the cecum
ileum most distal part of the small intestine ileum is continuous with the jejunum proximally and terminates at ileocecal junction distally; it is approximately 12 feet in length; it has a thinner wall than the jejunum, lower plicae circulares than the jejunum, more fat in its mesentery than does the jejunum, more complex arterial arcades than the jejunum, shorter arteriae recta than the jejunum
intestine, large part of the intestinal tract distal to the small intestine large intestine is approximately 5 feet long; parts of the large intestine are: cecum, ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, sigmoid colon, rectum; also known as: colon or large bowel
intestine, small part of the small intestine between the stomach proximally and the large intestine distally small intestine is approximately 21 feet long; parts of the small intestine are: duodenum (1 foot long, mostly retroperitoneal); jejunum (8 feet long); ileum (12 feet long)
jejunum part of the small intestine that is continuous with the duodenum proximally (at the duodenojejunal junction) and the ileum distally (no obvious landmark for its termination) jejunum is approximately 8 feet in length; wall of the jejunum is thicker than the wall of the ileum; plicae circulares (circular folds) are more pronounced in the jejunum than in the ileum; mesentery of the jejunum has less fat than that of the ileum; arterial arcades of the jejunum are more simple than those of the ileum; arteriae recta are longer in the jejunum than they are in the ileum
pancreas exocrine and endocrine gland located posterior to the stomach on the posterior abdominal wall retroperitoneal; pancreas functions as a digestive and an endocrine (insulin production) gland; main pancreatic duct drains the exocrine secretions of the tail, body and lower part of the head to the greater duodenal papilla within the 2nd part of the duodenum; accessory pancreatic duct drains the exocrine secretions of the upper body and part of the head to the lesser duodenal papilla
right colic flexure junction of the ascending colon and the transverse colon right colic flexure lies anterior to the lower part of the right kidney and inferior to the right lobe of the liver; also known as: hepatic flexure
sigmoid colon part of the distal large intestine located within the lower left quadrant sigmoid colon is continuous proximally with the descending colon at the left pelvic brim; it is continuous distally with the rectum at the level of the 3rd sacral vertebra; it is suspended from posterior abdominal wall by the sigmoid mesocolon
spleen lymphatic organ suspended within the greater omentum in the upper left quadrant spleen is connected to the greater curvature of the stomach by the gastrosplenic (gastrolienal) ligament; it is connected to the left kidney by the splenorenal (lienorenal) ligament; spleen is covered by visceral peritoneum on all of its surfaces
stomach dilated portion of the digestive system located primarily in the upper left quadrant stomach rotates during embryonic development so that the lesser curvature (originally the anterior surface) faces superiorly and to the right, the greater curvature (originally the posterior surface) faces inferiorly and to the left
transverse colon part of the large intestine located between the left and right colic flexures transverse colon is continuous proximally with the ascending colon at the right colic (hepatic) flexure; it is continuous distally with the descending colon at the left colic (splenic) flexure; it is suspended from the posterior abdominal wall by the transverse mesocolon


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Some of the material presented in these tables is contained in the book:
MedCharts Anatomy by Thomas R. Gest and Jaye Schlesinger
Published by ILOC, Inc., New York. Copyright 1995.

Content of these tables has been edited for use in this course by Patrick W. Tank, Ph.D.
Copyright 2005, Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Unauthorized use is prohibited.