Peritoneum - Definition

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The peritoneum is a very thin, strong membrane, made up of two layers that can move around independently. The parietal peritoneum layer lines the entire abdominal cavity, while the visceral peritoneum surrounds all the organs within the cavity, notably the liver, pancreas, spleen, stomach, small intestine, colon, and so on. The principal function of the peritoneum is to protect the organs against infection and to allow them to move around. This membrane can be subject to infections, called peritonitis, that can manifest as severe abdominal pain which quickly spread throughout the abdomen, as digestive disorders, fever, or induration of the abdomen. Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, it must be treated with antibiotics and surgery.