This is the space between the parietal and visceral peritoneum. It is  space which invaginates intraperitoneal structures such as liver, stomach, small intestine etc which are then said to be intraperitoneal; i.e. lying in the peritoneal cavity. These structures have their attachments to the posterior abdominal wall, excepting the stomach and esophagus which loose these connections during embryological development. The structures are covered by the two layers of peritoneum excepting at their back where they are attached to the posterior abdominal wall in the abdomen. In the pelvis they project upwards into the peritoneal cavity while anchoring in the perineum or pelvic wall.


The peritoneal cavity is further divided into two main divisions

bullet Main peritoneal cavity or greater sac of peritoneum
bullet Omental bursa or lesser sac of peritoneum

These two are further subdivided to form peritoneal spaces and pouches most especially the main peritoneal cavity which is further divided into

1. Left subhepatic space. This space is placed behind the left lobe of the liver and the stomach. It is therefore equivalent to the omental bursa.

2. Right subhepatic space. This is placed behind the right lobe of liver. It is also called the pouch of Morrison.

3. Right subphrenic space.

4. Left subphrenic space

Both are subphenic spaces are placed behind the diaphragm and may be extremely difficult to access surgically.

5. Extraperitoneal space which is occupied by the bare area of liver. The bare area of liver is that area from which peritoneal layers are reflected off the liver at its posterior aspect.

6. Pelvic cavity

Other smaller spaces are as follows


Paraduodenal fossae. These are placed around the junction between the duodenum and the jejunum, called the duodenojejunal junction.


Ileocaecal fossae


Retrocaecal fossa


Paravesical fossa

bulletRetrocecal space


Formation of peritoneal cavity



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