Dr Henry Knipe and Dr Jeremy Jones et al.

The peritoneum is a large complex serous membrane which forms a closed sac within the abdominal cavity. In the female, this closed sac is perforated by the lateral ends of the fallopian tubes. It is a potential space between the parietal peritoneum lining the abdominal wall and the visceral peritoneum enveloping the abdominal organs.

The free surface of the peritoneum has a layer of flattened mesothelial cells which are kept moist and smooth by a thin film of serous fluid. The potential peritoneal spaces, the peritoneal reflections forming peritoneal ligaments, mesenteries and omenta, and the natural flow of peritoneal fluid determine the route of spread of intraperitoneal fluid and disease processes within the abdominal cavity.

It can be divided into two main comparments that are separated by the mesentry of the transverse colon: the supramesocolic space above, and the inframesocolic space below.

The root of the transverse mesocolon extends across the infraampullary segment of the descending duodenum, the head of the pancreas and continues along the lower edge of the body and tail of pancreas.

Abdominal and pelvic anatomy
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Article information

rID: 5702
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Peritoneal cavity

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    Peritoneal cavity
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