This narrative provides an overview of the surgical anatomy of the abdomen. The first part describes the surgically important anatomic features of the abdomen. The second part proceeds through the organs as they would be evaluated in the course of exploration during celiotomy, noting common surgical conditions affecting that organ. Links from each frame lead to expanded presentations of that topic.
The abdominal contents are protected by the bony framework of the lower ribs, spine and pelvis. Any penetrating injury below the nipple line has the potential to pierce the diaphragm and injure abdominal organs. Pelvic fracture can sequester a large volume of blood in the extraperitoneal space and lead to profound shock.
The flank muscles and rectus abdominis complete the musculoskeletal boundaries of the abdominal cavity. The endoabdominal fascia (commonly called the transversalis fascia) is the outer boundary of the abdominal cavity. Stab wounds of the abdomen may be managed non-operatively in the hemodynamically normal patient. Probing of the wound to determine fascial penetration, and more reliably laparoscopic examination facilitate safe observation.