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Peritoneal relations: want to learn more about it?

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Peritoneal relations

Learning objectives:

This study unit will help you to:

1. Learn about the abdominal cavity, its organs and recesses.
2. Gain an understanding of the peritoneum and its features.
3. Distinguish between the intraperitoneal and retroperitoneal structures.

Watch videos

The peritoneum is a double-layered serous membrane that envelopes the abdominal organs and lines the walls of the abdominal cavity. The two layers are the visceral and parietal peritoneum. The organs that are completely surrounded by a peritoneum are called intraperitoneal organs. Most intraperitoneal structures are associated with the gastrointestinal tract as this organization allows for both support and movement. In contrast, the organs located behind the parietal peritoneum are referred to as the retroperitoneal organs. If they develop and remain outside the peritoneum, they are referred to as the primary retroperitoneal organs. Secondary retroperitoneal organs initially develop within the peritoneum and become retroperitoneal as they lose their mesentery during embryonic development.

This video tutorial will provide you with an overview of peritoneal relations:

Take a quiz 

Now that you have watched the video about peritoneal relations, test your knowledge by taking our quiz.

Browse atlas

Now you can study each structure individually with our image gallery: 


Key points about the peritoneal relations
Intraperitoneal structures Liver, spleen, stomach, superior part of the duodenum, jejunum, ileum, transverse colon, sigmoid colon and superior part of the rectum
Primary retroperitoneal organs Kidneys, suprarenal (adrenal) glands, ureters, aorta/inferior vena cava
Secondary retroperitoneal organs Pancreas, distal duodenum, ascending colon, descending colon
Recesses Duodenal recesses, caecal recesses, intersigmoid recess

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Continue your learning

Now that you're familiar with the basic relations of the peritoneal cavity, you can continue your learning path by reviewing the mesentery and retroperitoneum.

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