Abdominal Anatomy

  • The contents of the abdomen are primarily associated with digestion and distribution of nutrients.
  • The esophagus, a tube which carries food and fluid through the thorax, enters the abdomen through the diaphragm, where it widens into the stomach; the stomach empties into the small bowel (duodenum, jejunum and ileum, in which food is absorbed into the blood stream), and from there into the large bowel, where waste material is compacted as fluid is reabsorbed into the system.
  • The liver has multiple functions affecting a number of other body systems, including digestive, hematologic and endocrine/metabolic.
  • The large and small bowels are supplied by branches off of the aorta carried within the mesentery, a double-layered sheetlike structure.

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