abdominal cavity

The abdominal cavity is divided into two major compartments, the peritoneum and retroperitoneum, early in fetal development.

The parietal peritoneum is reflected over the peritoneal organs to form a series of supporting peritoneal ligaments, mesenteries and omenta. The peritoneal reflections carry vessels, nerves and lymphatics from the retroperitoneum to the peritoneal organs. They may act as a natural connection between the retroperitoneum and peritoneum (the subperitoneal space) which provides a pathway for the extension of intra-abdominal disease.