is the epithelial
lining of a body cavity
(coelom). In higher vertebrates
, the peritoneum is the lining of the abdominal
cavity in particular; the corresponding tissue in the pleural and pericardial cavities of the thorax
is called the pleura
and the pericardium
respectively. The peritoneum is a thin layer of tissue made of flat cells.
In humans, the peritoneum stretches from the diaphragm to the pelvis and consists of the parietal peritoneum and the visceral peritoneum.
There is normally no empty space within the peritoneum. There is normally a tiny amount of peritoneal fluid but any accumulation of fluid (ascites) or gas (pneumoperitoneum) is abnormal. Inflammation of the peritoneum is peritonitis, which is usually caused by a perforation in the stomach or intestines and is a serious condition.
Structures of the abdomen and pelvis
A listing of the major structures in the abdomen, divided into whether they are intraperitoneal or extraperitoneal.