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Valvulae conniventes

The valvulae conniventes, also known as Kerckring folds/valvesplicae circulares or just small bowel folds, are the mucosal folds of the small intestine, starting from the second part of the duodenum, they are large and thick at the jejunum and considerably decrease in size distally in the ileum to disappear entirely in the distal ileal bowel loops. 

They result in a classical appearance on abdominal radiographs, barium studies and CT scans.

History and etymology

Theodorus Kerckring (1640-1693) was a German-born anatomist who lived in Amsterdam. He also described the Kerckring ossicle 3.

Valvulae conniventes, means 'converging small valves'. The term is derived from the Latin valvula, the diminutive of valva meaning small valve, and conniventes, is the plural form of the present participle of the verb 'conniveo' meaning to converge. 

Plicae circulares, means "circular folds" and is derived from the Latin word plica meaning fold (it is the Terminologia Anatomica term for a fold) and circulares, Latin for circular 4.

Anatomy: Abdominopelvic

Anatomy: Abdominopelvic

Article information

rID: 6207
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Kerkring folds
  • Kerkring fold
  • Kerkring valve
  • Kerkring valves
  • Kerckring valve
  • Kerckring valves
  • Small bowel fold
  • Small bowel folds
  • Valvula connivens
  • Plica circularis
  • Plicae circulares
  • Kerckring folds
  • Kerckring fold

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Cases and figures

  • Fig 1: macroscopic pathology
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  • Case 1: on plain X-ray
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  • Case 2: on barium follow through
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  • Case 3: enteroclysis
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  • Case 4: on CT scan in a case of bowel obstruction
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  • Case 5: on x ray in a case of small bowel obstruction
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  • Case 6: small bowel obstruction
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