Copyright

Retroperitoneal Organs: Definition & Mnemonic

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
In this lesson, you'll learn the specific definition of the retroperitoneum. Then, you'll learn a mnemonic that will help you remember the organs (or parts thereof) that are found in this space.

Retroperitoneum

When someone says that something is 'retro,' what do they mean? They're referring to something that harkens 'back' to some other time. Like the word harkens, which is also pretty retro. 'Retro' is also used in the word retroperitoneum, which is the space located between the peritoneum and the posterior abdominal wall. Like arcane retro language no one can understand, this definition is pretty cloudy.

In this lesson we'll clarify this word and then figure out what organs are located in it.

Where Is the Retroperitoneum?

Before you can fully understand where the retroperitoneum (aka retroperitoneal space) is, it's helpful to understand what it is. The peritoneum is a relatively thin and transparent membrane that covers a large portion of your abdominopelvic (abdominal + pelvic) cavity as well as many of the structures housed within this cavity. If you were to line the inside of a ball with cling wrap, this cling wrap would be sort of like the peritoneum, and the space within the ball would be the abdominopelvic cavity.

Keep in mind the peritoneum does not line every part of your abdominopelvic cavity nor does it envelop every organ here! You can think of the peritoneum as a membrane that envelops mainly the front, sides, and the center of the abdominopelvic cavity and many of its organs.

Another thing you need to be aware of is something called the transversalis fascia, which is a sheet of fibrous tissue that lines the internal surface of the transverse abdominal muscle. This fascia helps comprise the inner lining of the back of your abdomen, the part closest to your back muscles.

The retroperitoneum is thus located to the 'back' of the peritoneum. Specifically, it's commonly seen as the space that's located posterior to (to the back of) the peritoneum and anterior to (to the front of) the transversalis fascia.

The peritoneum is labeled in this image. The kidneys (also labeled) sit in the retroperitoneal space (unlabeled).
Retroperitoneium

SAD PUCKER

In this retroperitoneal space, sit portions of or entire organs and tissue structures. There are quite a number of them. Thus it's easiest to remember which ones are found here using a famous mnemonic for it, that of SAD PUCKER.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support