The duodenum is the smallest section of the small intestine -- the portion that attaches to the stomach. Typically, this hollow tube is around ten inches in length, acting as the bridge between the stomach and the jejunum of the small intestine. A duodenum has many responsibilities, including the breakdown of food using enzymes, regulating the rate the stomach empties, and releasing certain hormones. This section of the small intestine is also prone to inflammation, ulcers, and cancer.
The duodenum is C-shaped and made up of four sections. The first or superior part contains the duodenal bulb, a structure several centimeters in size that touches the pyloric sphincter of the stomach. The second portion is around ten centimeters in length, with an upper and lower curve and many ducts responsible for drainage of various substances. The third portion is a little over seven centimeters in length. The fourth and final section is around two centimeters and continues as the jejunum.
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