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Human Anatomy

Illustration of the human abdominal organs

Picture of the Abdomen

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The abdomen (commonly called the belly) is the body space between the thorax (chest) and pelvis. The diaphragm forms the upper surface of the abdomen. At the level of the pelvic bones, the abdomen ends and the pelvis begins.

The abdomen contains all the digestive organs, including the stomach, small and large intestines, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. These organs are held together loosely by connecting tissues (mesentery) that allow them to expand and to slide against each other. The abdomen also contains the kidneys and spleen.

Many important blood vessels travel through the abdomen, including the aorta, inferior vena cava, and dozens of their smaller branches. In the front, the abdomen is protected by a thin, tough layer of tissue called fascia. In front of the fascia are the abdominal muscles and skin. In the rear of the abdomen are the back muscles and spine.

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