What is the anatomy of the peritoneal cavity relative to peritonitis and abdominal sepsis?

Updated: Jul 23, 2019
  • Author: Brian J Daley, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP, CNSC; Chief Editor: Praveen K Roy, MD, AGAF  more...
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The peritoneal cavity is divided incompletely into compartments by the mesenteric attachments and secondary retroperitonealization of certain visceral organs. A large peritoneal fold, the greater omentum, extends from the greater curvature of the stomach and the inferior aspect of the proximal duodenum downward over a variable distance to fold upon itself (with fusion of the adjacent layers) and ascends back to the taenia omentalis of the transverse colon. This peritoneal fold demonstrates a slightly different microscopic anatomy, with fenestrated surface epithelium and a large number of adipocytes, lymphocytes, and macrophages, and it functions as a fat storage location and a mobile immune organ.

The compartmentalization of the peritoneal cavity, in conjunction with the greater omentum, influences the localization and spread of peritoneal inflammation and infections.

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