The peritoneum 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.
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.
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Structures of the abdomen and pelvis
A listing of the major structures in the abdomen, divided into whether they are intraperitoneal or extraperitoneal.