Ventral Body Cavity: Definition, Subdivisions & Organs

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Biosemiotics: Definition & Overview

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 Ventral Body Cavity
  • 0:36 Divisions and Organs
  • 1:26 The Abdominopelvic Quadrants
  • 2:29 The Abdominopelvic Regions
  • 4:00 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has a master's degree in cancer biology and has taught high school and college biology.

Studying the body can be overwhelming when it's viewed as a whole. This lesson zooms in a bit to focus on the ventral cavity, its divisions, subdivisions, and the organs it contains.

Ventral Body Cavity

Nursing students Sabrina and Margie are sitting in study hall after their anatomy and physiology class. Sabrina already feels overwhelmed with trying to study the human body. It is so detailed, with so many different parts! Margie says she understands it by studying the ways the body has been divided by scientists.

Margie helps Sabrina by starting with the ventral cavity, which is the front part of the body and includes the thoracic and abdominopelvic cavities. Imagine a line just in front of the brain and spinal cord. Everything in front of that line is the ventral cavity.

Divisions and Organs

Sabrina reminds Margie that the ventral cavity is broken down into two divisions:

  1. The thoracic cavity, which is the chest cavity that is separated from the lower parts by the diaphragm. The mediastinum houses the esophagus, trachea, and the heart and its associated blood vessels. The pleural cavity houses the lungs ('pleural' is the medical term for lungs).

  2. The abdominopelvic cavity, which is really two cavities (abdominal and pelvic), but there's nothing to separate the two. The abdominal cavity houses the kidneys, gallbladder, liver, small intestines, part of the large intestines, stomach, spleen, and pancreas. The pelvic cavity houses the colon, rectum, reproductive organs, and urinary bladder.

Let's now take a look at the different divisions within the abdominal pelvic cavity, beginning with the abdominopelvic quadrants.

Abdominopelvic Quadrants

Margie tells Sabrina to imagine drawing a vertical line straight up and down the body and then a horizontal line straight through the middle of the cavity. This results in four equal sized sections called quadrants.

The quadrants on the top are:

  • Left upper quadrant (LUQ): contains the small part of the liver, left kidney, stomach, spleen, pancreas, and left half of the transverse colon
  • Right upper quadrant (RUQ): contains a large portion of the liver, right kidney, bottom end of the stomach, gallbladder, and right half of the transverse colon

The lower quadrants are the:

  • Left lower quadrant (LLQ): houses the left side of the small intestines, left ureter, and left ovary (in females)
  • Right lower quadrant (RLQ): houses the ascending colon, right side of the small intestines, right ureter, and right ovary (in females)

Margie says to keep in mind that they have to study based on the point-of-view of the body, not themselves looking at the body. So, 'left' means the left side of the body, not your left.

Abdominopelvic Regions

In the abdominopelvic quadrants are a bunch of regions that break this cavity down even more. Sabrina says she remembers a little about the regions because it looked like a tic-tac-toe board drawn over the cavity. There are nine regions to study.

Let go from top down, left to right. First, the top:

  • The top left is the left hypochondriac region, where you'll find the left half of the stomach and spleen
  • The top center is the epigastric region, which is the location for the large portion of the liver, gallbladder, right half of the stomach, pancreas, and kidneys
  • The top right region is the right hypochondriac region, where you'll find the right portion of the liver

Now to the middle:

  • The middle left section is the left lumbar region, where the descending colon and a small portion of the small intestines are found
  • The center region is the umbilical region, which contains the transverse colon, small intestines, and ureters
  • The middle right portion is the right lumbar region, where the ascending colon is located

And finally, the bottom:

To unlock this lesson you must be a 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

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
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? 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