Intraperitoneal

By O.P. (Paul) Gobée, dept. of Anatomy and Embryology, Leiden University Medical Center, last update: 5 Arpril 2018

 

The structures in the abdomen can lie in one of three locations in relation to the peritoneum: intraperitoneal, secondary retroperitoneal or (primary) retroperitoneal. This page discusses the intraperitoneal location.

 

Intraperitoneal

Location of an intraperitoneal organ in a schematic drawing.
Intraperitoneal organs on a cross-section. Note the blood vessels passing through the mesentery. Realize that the aorta and inferior vena cava (IVC) lie outside the peritoneum, retroperitoneally. The mesenteries form the connection route from the aorta and inferior vena cava to the intestines .
An organ that is (nearly completely) surrounded by peritoneum is called: an intraperitoneal organ.

Note: this is a somewhat confusing term, as the organ does NOT lie inside the peritoneal cavity, but that’s how it’s been called for centuries, so we’ll stick to it.

The locations of visceral and parietal peritoneum and of mesentery are also indicated on the images.

 

Which organs are intraperitoneal?

The jejunum and ileum, transverse colon and sigmoid colon are examples of intraperitoneal organs
Dissection specimen. The transverse colon and greater omentum have been lifted upward (towards the head), directly exposing the jenunum and ileum. To demonstrate that the jenunum and ileum are mobile, they have been drawn together.
Jejunum and ileum, and transverse and sigmoid colon are intraperitoneal.
The classic example of an intraperitoneal organ is the small bowel, more precisely the jejunum and ileum. Characteristically, they are directly visible and accessible after one opens the peritoneal cavity -and lifts the greater omentum- and they are mobile, as they are suspended by ('hang from') the mesentery.

The same holds for the transverse colon and the the sigmoid colon. Further intraperitoneal organs are the liver, the stomach and the spleen (not shown on the images).
 

 

Intraperitoneal structures in reality

This video shows the characteristics of intraperitoneal structures in a dissection specimen.

This is a fragment of a longer video that shows all three peritoneal locations. See minutes 0:44 - 1:56
(1m12s)

 

Intraperitoneal structures

Characteristics:

  • (Largely) surrounded by peritoneum
  • Directly visible and accessible after opening the peritoneal cavity (and moving the greater omentum aside)
  • Mobile (most)

 


 
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The structures in the abdomen can lie in one of three locations in relation to the peritoneum: intraperitoneal, secondary retroperitoneal or (primary) retroperitoneal. This page explains the development, adult configuration and characteristics of intraperitoneal organs.
Anatomical structures in item:
Peritoneum
Uploaded by: opgobee Netherlands, Leiden – Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden University
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Intraperitoneal
Uploaded by: opgobee
Institution: Netherlands, Leiden – Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden University
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The structures in the abdomen can lie in one of three locations in relation to the peritoneum: intraperitoneal, secondary retroperitoneal or (primary) retroperitoneal. This page explains the development, adult configuration and characteristics of intraperitoneal organs.
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Anatomical structures in item
Peritoneum
Topics
Gross