Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Intestinal Polyps Anatomy

To better understand intestinal polyps, it helps to understand the anatomy of the gastrointestinal tract.

The esophagus is a muscular tube that propels food down to the stomach. The stomach is the most dilated portion of the digestive tube, situated between the esophagus and the beginning of the small intestine (duodenum). It lies in the upper central portion of the abdomen (above the umbilicus) and to the left of the midline. The stomach produces gastric juice (acidic), which serves to breakdown proteins.

The intestine is a long, continuous, tube inside the body. It lets the body absorb nutrients from food and liquids. The intestine is about 22 feet long. It includes the large intestine (colon) 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

Gastrointestinal anatomy:
  • Esophagus and stomach
  • Intestines
  • Blood vessels of the intestines
  • Entire gastrointestinal tract

Last Updated: Dec 16, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Intestinal Polyps References
  1. Friedman S, Odze RD, Farraye FA. Management of neoplastic polyps in inflammatory bowel disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2003 Jul;9(4):260-6. [12902849]
  2. Merg A, Howe JR. Genetic conditions associated with intestinal juvenile polyps. Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2004 Aug 15;129(1):44-55. [15264272]
  3. Schulmann K, Hollerbach S, Kraus K, Willert J, Vogel T, Moslein G, Pox C, Reiser M, Reinacher-Schick A, Schmiegel W. Feasibility and diagnostic utility of video capsule endoscopy for the detection of small bowel polyps in patients with hereditary polyposis syndromes. Am J Gastroenterol. 2005 Jan;100(1):27-37. [15654777]
  4. Togashi K, Konishi F, Ishizuka T, Sato T, Senba S, Kanazawa K. Efficacy of magnifying endoscopy in the differential diagnosis of neoplastic and non-neoplastic polyps of the large bowel. Dis Colon Rectum. 1999 Dec;42(12):1602-8. [10613481]
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