Encyclopedia > Abdomen

  Article Content


The abdomen (a Latin word, either from abdere, to hide, or from a form adipomen, from adeps, fat) is the region of the body containing most of the digestive organs. It is also called the belly. For additional anatomical details the articles on the alimentary canal and Anatomy.

See also: peritoneum

Anatomy of the (human) abdomen

In the mid-line a slight furrow extends from the ensiform cartilage above to the symphysis pubis below; this marks the linea alba in the abdominal wall, and about its middle point is the umbilicus or navel. On each side of it the broad recti muscles can be seen in muscular people. The outline of these muscles is interrupted by three or more transverse depressions indicating the lineae transversae in the recti; there is usually one about the ensiform cartilage, one at the umbilicus, and one between; sometimes a fourth is present below the umbilicus. The upper lateral limit of the abdomen is the subcostal margin formed by the cartilages of the false ribs (8, 9, 10) joining one another; the lower lateral limit is the anterior part of the crest of the ilium and Poupart's ligament running from the anterior superior spine of the ilium to the spine of the pubis; these lower limits are marked by definite grooves. Just above the pubic spine is the external abdominal ring, an opening in the muscular wall of the abdomen for the spermatic cord to emerge in the male. The most modern method of marking out the abdominal contents is to draw three horizontal and two vertical lines; the highest of the former is the transpyloric line of C. Addison, which is situated half-way between the suprasternal notch and the top of the symphysis pubis; it often cuts the pyloric opening of the stomach an inch to the right of the mid-line. The hilum of each kidney is a little below it, while its left end approximately touches the lower limit of the spleen. It corresponds to the first lumbar vertebra behind. The second line is the subcostal, drawn from the lowest point of the subcostal arch (tenth rib); it corresponds to the upper part of the third lumbar vertebra, and is an inch or so above the umbilicus; it indicates roughly the transverse colon, the lower ends of the kidneys, and the upper limit of the transverse (3rd) part of the duodenum. The third line is called the intertubercular, and runs across between the two rough tubercles, which can be felt on the outer lip of the crest of the ilium about two and a half inches from the anterior superior spine. This line corresponds to the body of the fifth lumbar vertebra, and passes through or just above the ileo-caecal valve where the small intestine joins the large. The two vertical or mid-Poupart lines are drawn from the point midway between the anterior superior spine and the pubic symphysis on each side vertically upward to the costal margin. The right one is the most valuable, as the ileo-caecal valve is situated where it cuts the intertubercular line, while the orifice of the vermiform appendix is an inch lower down. At its upper part it meets the transpyloric line at the lower margin of the ribs, usually the ninth, and here the gallbladder is situated. The left mid-Poupart line corresponds in its upper three-quarters to the inner edge of the descending colon. The right subcostal margin corresponds to the lower limit of the liver, while the right nipple is about half an inch above the upper limit of this viscus.

Source: An unnamed encyclopedia from a project that puts out-of-copyright texts into the public domain. This is from a *very* old source, and reflects the thinking of the turn of the last century. -- BryceHarrington

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article
Shinnecock Hills, New York

... of it is water. The total area is 9.61% water. Demographics As of the census of 2000, there are 1,749 people, 502 households, and 313 families residing in the town. The ...

This page was created in 39.1 ms