Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms Underlying Cause Anatomy

Bowel Perforation Anatomy

To better understand perforated bowel, it helps to understand the anatomy of the gastrointestinal tract.

The intestine absorbs nutrients from food and liquids. The intestine is about 22 feet long in an adult. It includes the large intestine and the small intestine.

The small intestine has three parts:

  • Duodenum:
    • Connects to the stomach
  • Jejunum:
    • Middle portion of the small intestine
  • Ileum:
    • Lower portion of the small intestine that connects to the cecum (first part of the large intestine)

The large intestine is also known as the colon. It is the last portion of the intestine.

The colon has several parts, including:
  • Cecum:
    • The portion of the colon that connects to the ileum (small intestine). The appendix is a finger-like pouch that comes off of the cecum.
  • Ascending colon:
    • The first section after the small intestine, located on the right side
  • Transverse colon:
    • Sits horizontally across the upper abdomen
  • Descending colon:
    • Located on the left side of the abdomen
  • Sigmoid:
    • A short, S-shaped section above the rectum
  • Rectum:
    • The lowest internal part of the colon

Intestinal anatomy:
  • Entire gastrointestinal tract
  • Intestines and other abdominal organs
  • Blood vessels of the intestines
  • The appendix is a small pouch that protrudes from the wall of the large intestine. It is located at the point where the small intestine turns into the large intestine.

Last Updated: Dec 22, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Bowel Perforation References
  1. de Feiter PW, Soeters PB, Dejong CH. Rectal perforations after barium enema: a review. Dis Colon Rectum. 2006 Feb;49(2):261-71. [16328608]
  2. Donahue L. Spontaneous intestinal perforation. Neonatal Netw. 2007 Sep-Oct;26(5):335-51. [17926662]
  3. Furukawa A, Sakoda M, Yamasaki M, Kono N, Tanaka T, Nitta N, Kanasaki S, Imoto K, Takahashi M, Murata K, Sakamoto T, Tani T. Gastrointestinal tract perforation: CT diagnosis of presence, site, and cause. Abdom Imaging. 2005 Sep-Oct;30(5):524-34. [16096870]
  4. Luning TH, Keemers-Gels ME, Barendregt WB, Tan AC, Rosman C. Colonoscopic perforations: a review of 30,366 patients. Surg Endosc. 2007 Jun;21(6):994-7. Epub 2007 Apr 24. [17453289]
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