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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Compare and contrast the location and gross anatomy of the small and large intestines
  • Identify three main adaptations of the small intestine wall that increase its absorptive capacity
  • Describe the mechanical and chemical digestion of chyme upon its release into the small intestine
  • List three features unique to the wall of the large intestine and identify their contributions to its function
  • Identify the beneficial roles of the bacterial flora in digestive system functioning
  • Trace the pathway of food waste from its point of entry into the large intestine through its exit from the body as feces

The word intestine is derived from a Latin root meaning “internal,” and indeed, the two organs together nearly fill the interior of the abdominal cavity. In addition, called the small and large bowel, or colloquially the “guts,” they constitute the greatest mass and length of the alimentary canal and, with the exception of ingestion, perform all digestive system functions.

The small intestine

Chyme released from the stomach enters the small intestine    , which is the primary digestive organ in the body. Not only is this where most digestion occurs, it is also where practically all absorption occurs. The longest part of the alimentary canal, the small intestine is about 3.05 meters (10 feet) long in a living person (but about twice as long in a cadaver due to the loss of muscle tone). Since this makes it about five times longer than the large intestine, you might wonder why it is called “small.” In fact, its name derives from its relatively smaller diameter of only about 2.54 cm (1 in), compared with 7.62 cm (3 in) for the large intestine. As we’ll see shortly, in addition to its length, the folds and projections of the lining of the small intestine work to give it an enormous surface area, which is approximately 200 m 2 , more than 100 times the surface area of your skin. This large surface area is necessary for complex processes of digestion and absorption that occur within it.

Structure

The coiled tube of the small intestine is subdivided into three regions. From proximal (at the stomach) to distal, these are the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum ( [link] ).

The shortest region is the 25.4-cm (10-in) duodenum    , which begins at the pyloric sphincter. Just past the pyloric sphincter, it bends posteriorly behind the peritoneum, becoming retroperitoneal, and then makes a C-shaped curve around the head of the pancreas before ascending anteriorly again to return to the peritoneal cavity and join the jejunum. The duodenum can therefore be subdivided into four segments: the superior, descending, horizontal, and ascending duodenum.

Of particular interest is the hepatopancreatic ampulla    (ampulla of Vater). Located in the duodenal wall, the ampulla marks the transition from the anterior portion of the alimentary canal to the mid-region, and is where the bile duct (through which bile passes from the liver) and the main pancreatic duct    (through which pancreatic juice passes from the pancreas) join. This ampulla opens into the duodenum at a tiny volcano-shaped structure called the major duodenal papilla    . The hepatopancreatic sphincter    (sphincter of Oddi) regulates the flow of both bile and pancreatic juice from the ampulla into the duodenum.

Questions & Answers

explain respiratory centers
Tharshana Reply
which enzyme help in excretion of bile
Sakshi Reply
how conversion of Beta-carotiene into vitamin-A takes place
Sakshi
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Sakshi
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Saroj Reply
The study of large structure of the body
Mablean
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Dakshit Reply
a bag of skin near the penis which contains the testicles
Mablean
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Sardar
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Kryme
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Uriah Reply
I want to know the fertilization process in human
Nana Reply
Which plane divides the body into right and left parts
Kaeze
sagittal plane
Irvin
Thank you
Kaeze
Homestatic regulations usually involves a (n) _ that detects a particular stimulus, and a(n) _that respond to the stimulus by communicating with a (n) _whose activity has an effect on the same stimulus.
Kaeze
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Azoyenime Reply
Haemophilia
Aliyu
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Ganesh Reply
Diabetes insipidus or diabetes mellitus would most likely be indicated by ________.
Ganesh
oral cavity how miean
Ganesh Reply
oral cavity how mean what
Suresh
seems to me every one is here a doctor and worse part is that even they donot know what to ask.
Muhammad
they know what to ask the problem is how to ask it.too much broken english.
George
dear George ongeche I think if they ask these kind questions and telling themselves as HCPs or medical student's .these are the basic ones go ask something more interesting .
Muhammad
what is blood red
Ahmad Reply
what is human anatomy?
Arpita Reply
tell me what is human anatomy?
Arpita
what is Openstax?
Arpita
arpita jana I think it's not the forum to ask such basic question...
Muhammad
study of structure of an object in this case human body.
Suresh
what are deferent between trasemicacid and vitamin k
Ubah Reply
This medication is used to treat heavy bleeding during your menstrual period. Tranexamic acid works by slowing the breakdown of blood clots, which helps to prevent prolonged bleeding. It belongs to a class of drugs known as antifibrinolytics
Muhammad
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John
In the body, vitamin K plays a major role in blood clotting. So it is used to reverse the effects of “blood thinning” medications when too much is given; to prevent clotting problems in newborns who don’t have enough vitamin K; and to treat bleeding caused by medications including salicylates, sulfo
Muhammad
Vitamin K plays a key role in helping the blood clot, preventing excessive bleeding. Unlike many other vitamins, vitamin K is not typically used as a dietary supplement. Vitamin K is actually a group of compounds. The most important of these compounds appears to be vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitami
Muhammad
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Muhammad
26 vertebrea bone
Bhumi
wathe is blood function
dhena Reply
Blood, fluid that transports oxygen and nutrients to the cells and carries away carbon dioxide and other waste products. ... It is a tissue because it is a collection of similar specialized cells that serve particular functions. These cells are suspended in a liquid matrix (plasma), which makes the 
Ashiish
how tissue carries waste matrial
Nadeem
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Islam Reply
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Islam
206
Nadeem
heart layers
Suresh
endoceime is the inner layer of heart
pandit
What is buffer?
Peer Reply
a buffer is a solution that resists a chemical change.
George
Yup it also balances the solutions
Peer

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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