Retroperitoneum

Dr Craig Hacking and Dr Jeremy Jones et al.

The retroperitoneum is the part of the abdominal cavity that lies between the posterior parietal peritoneum and anterior to the transversalis fascia.

It is divided into three spaces by the perirenal fascia and is best visualised using CT or MRI. The three spaces are:

A fourth space, the great vessel space, is defined in the recent literature 2, 3 but perhaps not considered one of the three classically described spaces above. 

Related pathology

Abdominal and pelvic anatomy
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Article information

rID: 5718
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Retroperitoneal space
  • Retroperitoneal spaces

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Cases and figures

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    Figure 1
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    Figure 2: retroperitoneum (axial)
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    Figure 3: retroperitoneum (anterior dissection)
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    Figure 4: retroperitoneum (posterior dissection)
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