UAMS Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences - Topographical Anatomy of the Abdomen

Gross Anatomy


Topographical Anatomy of the Abdomen - Listed Alphabetically

Structure/Space Description/Boundaries Significance
arcuate line anatomical feature on the inner surface of the abdominal wall; a fascial line in the transverse plane approximately 1/2 of the distance from the umbilicus to the pubic symphysis arcuate line is the point at which the posterior lamina of the rectus sheath ends and transversalis fascia lines the inner surface of the rectus abdominis m.
epigastric region an area on the anterior abdominal wall between the midclavicular lines, superior to the transpyloric line one of 9 regions of the abdomen
hypochondriac region an area on the anterior abdominal wall lateral to the midclavicular line, superior to the transpyloric line one of 9 regions of the abdomen; bilateral
hypogastric region an area on the anterior abdominal wall between the midclavicular lines, inferior to the intertubercular line one of 9 regions of the abdomen; also known as: pubic region
inguinal region anterior abdominal wall lateral to midclavicular line, inferior to intertubercular line one of 9 regions of the abdomen; also known as: iliac region
intercristal line an imaginary line drawn in the horizontal plane at the upper margin of the iliac crests intercristal line locates the level of the L4 vertebra; a useful landmark in spinal tap procedure
intertubercular line an imaginary line drawn in the horizontal plane at the upper margin of the iliac tubercles intertubercular line locates the level of the L5 vertebra; used with midinguinal and transpyloric lines to divide the abdominal wall into 9 regions
linea alba anatomical feature on the midline of the anterior abdominal wall; an aponeurotic band that extends from the xiphoid process to the pubic symphysis; linea alba is formed by the combined abdominal muscle aponeuroses; it is used for midline abdominal incisions to avoid major nerves or vessels
lumbar region an area on the anterior abdominal wall lateral to the midclavicular line, inferior to transpyloric line, superior to intertubercular line one of 9 regions of the abdomen; also known as: lateral region
McBurney's point a point on the anterior abdominal wall which is 1/3 of the distance along a line from the right anterior superior iliac spine to the umbilicus McBurney's point is the approximate location of the vermiform appendix; point of tenderness in appendicitis
midaxillary line an imaginary vertical line passing through the middle of the axilla used as a surface landmark for descriptive purposes
midclavicular line an imaginary vertical line passing through the midshaft of the clavicle used as a surface landmark for descriptive purposes
midinguinal line an imaginary vertical line passing through the midpoint of inguinal ligament used with the transpyloric and intertubercular lines to divide the abdomen into 9 regions
quadrant, inferior left a region on the anterior abdominal wall defined by the midline and the transumbilical line one of 4 abdominal quadrants
quadrant, inferior right a region on the anterior abdominal wall defined by the midline and the transumbilical line one of 4 abdominal quadrants
quadrant, superior left a region on the anterior abdominal wall defined by the midline and the transumbilical line one of 4 abdominal quadrants
quadrant, superior right a region on the anterior abdominal wall defined by the midline and the transumbilical line one of 4 abdominal quadrants
semilunar line an anatomical feature of the anterior abdominal wall; the lateral edge of the rectus abdominis m. semilunar line is formed by the fused aponeuroses of the abdominal wall mm. at the lateral margin of the rectus sheath
transpyloric line an imaginary horizontal line 1/2 of the distance between the jugular notch and the pubic crest transpyloric line is used with the midinguinal and intertubercular lines to divide the abdominal wall into 9 regions; the fundus of the gall bladder lies at the intersection of the transpyloric line with the right 9th costal cartilage; the pylorus of the stomach is located at this plane; a horizontal plane through the transpyloric line locates the level of the L1 vertebra
transumbilical line an imaginary horizontal line through the umbilicus transumbilical line is used with the midline to divide abdomen into 4 quadrants
transverse lines anatomical features in the anterior abdominal wall; folds in the anterior abdominal wall (usually 3) transverse lines are creases that overlie the tendinous intersections in the rectus abdominis m.
umbilical region a region on the anterior abdominal wall between the midclavicular lines, inferior to the transpyloric line, superior to the intertubercular line one of 9 regions of the abdomen
umbilicus remnant of the attachment of the umbilical cord to the anterior abdominal wall umbilicus marks the approximate level of the L3/L4 intervertebral disc in non-obese individuals


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.

The content of these tables has been edited for use in this course by Patrick W. Tank, Ph.D.
Copyright 2009, Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Unauthorized use is prohibited.




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