The peritoneum is a large membrane that surrounds and supports many of the abdominal organs. A double fold of this membrane comprises the mesentery. This is the tissue that attaches the intestines to the abdominal wall. Additionally, the mesentery helps store fat and allows blood vessels, lymphatics, and nerves to reach and supply the intestines. It also has many structures within it, and each carries different responsibilities. These include various mesocolon regions, small-intestine mesentery, mesoappendix, and mesorectum.
Advancements in technology allowed new microscopic examinations that led to an innovative discovery in 2012. Several structures which experts believed to be separate parts of the digestive system were actually one unified mass. A 2016 article provided enough evidence for the medical community to recognize this mass as an organ. Experts dubbed it the mesentery and the most well-known textbook, Gray’s Anatomy, added it to their latest edition in 2016. This discovery led to many innovations in various medical fields.
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