Anterior abdominal wall

The anterior abdominal wall forms the anterior limit of the abdominal viscera and is defined superiorly by the xiphoid process of the sternum and costal cartilages and inferiorly by the iliac crest and pubic bones of the pelvis.

The anterior abdominal wall has seven layers (from superficial to deep):

  1. skin
  2. subcutaneous fat
  3. superficial (camper's) and deep (scarpa's) fasica
  4. muscles
  5. fascia transversalis
  6. extraperitoneal fat
  7. parietal peritoneum

Scarpa's fascia is deep to the skin and subcutaneous fat in the lower part of the wall and is fused with Colle's fascia in the perineum.

The muscle layers include the external oblique muscle, internal oblique muscle, transversus abdominis muscle anterolaterally and the rectus abdominis muscle anteriorly. The fascia surrounding the 3 anterolateral muscles fuse anteriorly to attach to the rectus abdominus at the linea semilunaris. The fascia then continues medially surrounding the rectus abdominis as the rectus sheath.

The muscles and associated soft tissues derive blood supply from branches of the superior epigastric and inferior epigastric arteries and their cutaneous branches above the umbilicus. Arterial supply below the umbilicus is from superficial epigastric arteries, superficial circumflex iliac arteries and superficial external pudendal arteries. Superfical veins are paired with the arteries. Veins above the umbilicus drain into the azygos system and below the umbilicus into the femoral system via great saphenous vein.

The lymphatic vessels above the umbilicus drain into the axillary and sternal nodes. The vessels below the umbilicus drain into the superficial inguinal nodes.

Derived from the ventral rami of T7 through L1. Thoracoabdominal nerves from the ventral rami of T7 to T11. Subcostal nerves from the ventral rami of T12. Ventral rami of the L1 gives rise to iliohypogastric and ilioinguinal nerves.

Plain radiograph

Muscle layers of the anterior abdominal wall may be outlined between the extraperitoneal fat and subcutaneous fat layers, especially in obese patients.

CT

Three muscle layers (external oblique, internal oblique, transverse abdominis) can be seen anterolaterally in cross section and also the rectus muscle and its sheath can be seen anteriorly superficial to the other three muscle layers.

Abdominal and pelvic anatomy
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Article information

rID: 48644
Section: Anatomy
Tag: refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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