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(pĕrətənē`əm), multilayered membrane which lines the abdominal cavity, and supports and covers the organs within it. The part of the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity is called the parietal peritoneum. The portion that covers the internal organs, or viscera, is known as the visceral peritoneum and forms the outer layer (serosa) of most of the intestinal tract. The supportive peritoneum forms a double sheet of greatly modified membrane called the mesentery. This tissues hold the organs of the digestive tract in position and convey nerves, blood vessels, and lymphatic ducts to the viscera. The space between the visceral and parietal membranes contains a watery fluid that permits the abdominal organs to slide freely against the abdominal wall. A ruptured appendix can lead to inflammation of the peritoneum, a condition known as peritonitis.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a thin, semitransparent membrane with a smooth, shiny surface that lines the interior wall of the abdominal cavity and covers the organs inside it in vertebrate animals and humans.

In the normal state, the cavity between the parietal and visceral peritoneums is filled with serous fluid, which facilitates the shifting of organs in relation to each other and the abdominal wall. The total area of the peritoneum in an adult human is approximately 1.6-2.04 sq m (16,000-20,400 sq cm), and its thickness is 0.7-1.1 mm. The outer layer of the peritoneum is formed of mesothelium, and its base is composed of fibrous connective tissue. The peritoneum that covers internal organs (visceral peritoneum) is compactly knitted with them; the peritoneum covering the abdominal wall (parietal peritoneum) is united with underlying parts by an interlayer of loose connective tissue or subperitoneal fatty tissue. The diaphragmatic peritoneum lacks such an interlayer. The peritoneum is abundantly supplied with blood and lymph vessels and nerves.

Covering the wall of the abdominal cavity and the organs inside it, the peritoneum forms a system of slitlike spaces— the peritoneal cavity, which is completely closed in men and which communicates with the external environment through the opening of the Fallopian tube in women. Going from organ to organ and from organ to the wall of the abdominal cavity, the peritoneum forms ligaments, mesenteries, omenta, pouches, pits, and folds. Internal organs may penetrate through depressions in the transperitoneal space, forming hernias. Internal organs may be covered with peritoneum on all sides (intraperitoneally), on three sides (mesoperitoneally), or on only one side (extraperitoneally). Depending on the disposition of blood and lymph vessels, sections of peritoneum that primarily absorb or secrete serous fluid are distinguished; this conditions the circulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity. In some sections of the peritoneum (on the diaphragm, in the pelvic cavity, and other sections) are located special apparatus, so-called pipes of the peritoneum, which assure especially intensive absorption of fluids. Of diseases of the peritoneum, the most dangerous is its inflammation—peritonitis.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The serous membrane enveloping the abdominal viscera and lining the abdominal cavity.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a thin translucent serous sac that lines the walls of the abdominal cavity and covers most of the viscera
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Except for these incisions of the parietal peritoneum, no other peritoneal serous membrane were sectioned during the procedure.
Ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging were performed followed by diagnostic laparoscopy, which confirmed the presence of neoplastic disseminate nodes of whitish-gray color ranging from 0.5 to 1.5 cm in diameter diffusely located on the peritoneum. Neither exudate nor adhesive process was present.
The peritoneum is divided anterior to the plane of the hypogastric nerves, and the division is taken superiorly in a plane just anterior to the aorta.
"For the last 10 years, my laboratory, supported by Qatar Foundation through both the biomedical research program and the Qatar National Research Fund, has examined the relationship between the peritoneum and cancer cells.
While ATB is a frequent occurrence, no specific clinical, radiologic or laboratory finding can confirm it; therefore the diagnosis of this disease still poses a great challenge.6,7 ATB can affect several structures in the abdomen like lymph nodes, gastrointestinal tract (GIT) or the peritoneum. All of these present with nonspecific features and many of these patients are missed due to lack of suspicion.7 TB peritonitis is one such presentation where the diagnosis is frequently missed, only to be discovered later in the surgical room.7 Several diseases can mimic TB peritonitis like carcinomatosis8-10 and it is vital to be able to differentiate among these diseases as treatment for each of them differs drastically.
Currently, endoscopy is widely used in the field of colorectal surgery due to its benefits in reducing bleeding, decreasing the dependence of patients on analgesics, accelerating the recovery of gastrointestinal function, and shortening the length of hospital stay.[3],[4],[5] Pelvic floor peritoneum reconstruction is a key step in various standard resections for open radical rectal cancer.
In this report we analyzed medical records of 8 consecutive patients who were operated and found to have ischemia of peritoneum and the whole bowel from April 1/2015 to December 1/2016 in AMGH, southern Ethiopia.
Although endometriosis at the pelvic peritoneum, including the Douglas pouch, has been reported often, there are few reports of cystic endometriosis in the retroperitoneal cavity.
The prevailing theory considers BMPM as the result of a persistent inflammatory status involving the peritoneum because of its association with endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, previous abdominal surgery, and recurrent peritonitis episodes associated with peritoneal dialysis and familial Mediterranean fever [3, 18, 19].
MRI was performed in order to assess the depth of the lesion, specifically in relation to the fascia and peritoneum.
After separation of muscles by blunt dissection, the peritoneum which is a glistening white layer was opened by first making a nick with a scissor and then guiding the cut by a finger placed underneath the peritoneum.