Peritoneum vs Retroperitoneum: Difference and Comparison

The main distinction between the peritoneum and retro-peritoneum is their placement. The peritoneum lines the abdominal cavity, and the retroperitoneum lies behind it.

The kidney and other organs in the retroperitoneal space give it a distinct structure from the peritoneum.

Key Takeaways

  1. The peritoneum is a thin membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and covers the internal organs, while the retroperitoneum is the anatomical space behind the peritoneum.
  2. Organs within the peritoneal cavity are called intraperitoneal, while those in the retroperitoneum are known as retroperitoneal organs.
  3. The peritoneum supports and protects abdominal organs, while the retroperitoneum provides stability and protection for organs such as the kidneys, pancreas, and major blood vessels.
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Peritoneum vs Retroperitoneum

The peritoneum is a thin, transparent membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and covers most of the organs in the abdomen, including the stomach, liver, and pancreas. The retroperitoneum is a space located behind the peritoneum that contains the kidneys, adrenal glands, pancreas, and parts of the colon.

Peritoneum is composed of a layer of the mesothelium that is supported by a thin layer of connective tissue, and it covers the majority of the organs that are located within the abdomen (also known as coelomic organs).

On the other hand, the retroperitoneum is a region that is in front of the transversalis fascia and behind the peritoneum. According to the notion of interfacial spread, it contains additional compartments divided by fasciae, between which communication is possible with both the peritoneal cavity and the pelvis.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPeritoneumRetroperitoneum
Organs enclosedThe first and fourth regions of the duodenum, the liver, the jejunum, the ileum, the transverse colon, and the sigmoid colon.The second and third sections of the duodenum, the aorta, the kidneys, the ureters, the ascending and descending colon, and the adrenal glands
DiseasesPeritoneum diseases include peritonitis, hernia just to mention but a few.Some of the related diseases include tumors and not forgetting fibrosis… etc.
The location in abdominal cavityIt is located at the front section.It is located at the rear section.
Assist withaids in keeping the organs in place and secretes a lubricant to minimize friction when they rub.lines the belly wall and protects the majority of the organs.
Comprised of consisting of two layers, the deep visceral layer and the superficial parietal layer.is a physical space that exists behind the peritoneal or abdominal cavity.

 What is Peritoneum?

Peritoneum, also known as the serosal, it’s a membrane enclosing the abdominal organs and lining the abdominal cavity, it aids in keeping the organs in place.

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Your abdominal and pelvic walls are lined with parietal peritoneum, and your organs are encased with visceral peritoneum, which acts as a lubricant to lessen the friction when they rub against one another.

The peritoneal cavity is the area between. Includes a layer of loose connective tissue on top of a layer of flattened mesothelial cells.

The peritoneum consists of two continuous layers: the parietal and the visceral. Both forms consist of the mesothelium, which is straightforward squamous epithelial cells.

The peritoneal cavity, which contains a tiny amount (about 50 mL) of slick serous fluid that permits the two layers to slide smoothly over one another, serves as the possible space between these two layers.

The right paracolic gutter connects the right and left subhepatic compartments. The greater sac and the lesser sac can communicate with each other through the epiploic foramen. In contrast to how the peritoneal space in females is connected to the extraperitoneal pelvis by holes in the uterus, fallopian tubes, and vagina, the peritoneal space in males is closed.

What is Retroperitoneum?

The organs located in the retroperitoneum are the adrenal glands, aorta, kidneys, an esophagus, ureters, pancreas rectum, and parts of the stomach and colon. The region behind the peritoneum, which is the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the abdomen, is known as the retroperitoneum.

Inflammation of the retroperitoneum is a serious condition that carries with it the potential for fatal outcomes. Serious effects may result when inflammation affects your abdominal organs, like your abdominal aorta. This important blood channel transports oxygen-rich blood to your lower body.

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Its anatomical location is behind the abdominal cavity or peritoneal cavity. Organs lying between the abdominal wall and parietal peritoneum that are not suspended by the mesentery are referred to as being in the retroperitoneum.

Borders of the retro peritoneum are the transversalis fascia, psoas, quadratus lumborum, and diaphragm facias border the retroperitoneal region on either side of the posterior abdominal wall (laterally).

 In addition, it has five major areas, including the right subphrenic space. Correct subhepatic region. Right subhepatic anterior space Lesser sac in the posterior right subhepatic region (Morison pouch). eponymous foramen (of Winslow).

Main Differences Between Peritoneum and Retroperitoneum

  1.  The position of the peritoneum and the retroperitoneum within the body is the primary distinction between the two. The peritoneum is found in the front of the body, while the retroperitoneum is found in the back.
  2. The retroperitoneal space is situated behind the peritoneum and is divided from the former by the parietal peritoneum, while the peritoneum is a double-layered sheet that protects the organs in the abdominal cavity.
  3. Peritoneum consists of diseases such as a hernia, while the retroperitoneum consists of diseases like fibrosis.
  4. The adrenal glands are located in the retroperitoneum, while the ileum is located in the peritoneum.
  5. The prefix ‘retro’ in retroperitoneum indicates ‘behind,’ implying that the retroperitoneum is located behind the peritoneum.

Last Updated : 27 July, 2023

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