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Abdominal cavity

The abdominal cavity is divided into two major compartments early in foetal development (the peritoneum and retroperitoneum).

The parietal peritoneum is reflected over the peritoneal organs to form a series of supporting ligaments, mesenteries and omenta. The peritoneal reflections carry vessels, nerves and lymphatics from the retroperitoneum to the peritoneal organs. They may act as a natural connection between the retroperitoneum and peritoneum (the subperitoneal space) which provides a pathway for the extension of intraabdominal disease.

Mesentry, omenta and peritoneal ligaments are formed as the peritoneum is reflected within the abdominal cavity.


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