Difference Between Abdomen and Abdominal Cavity

It has been a common mistake by many that both abdomen and abdominal cavity being referred as the same unit. A nonprofessional or a common person could refer these two as the same thing, and there cannot be many problems, as well. However, technically or anatomically there is a significant distinction between abdomen and abdominal cavity. This article would be important to those who want to seek information in this regard, and the presented information should be read with a good presence of mind.


Abdomen is one of the main regions of the body that is located between the chest and the pelvis. Generally, the abdomen is the belly region of an animal. In mammals, the diaphragm separates the abdomen from the chest or the thorax, and the pelvic brim margins the other side from the pelvis. In vertebrates, the abdomen is enclosed by skeletal muscles, sub-cutaneous fat layer, and most externally by the skin. The abdominal location and the muscle arrangement support the animal to breathe properly. With all these features, the abdomen plays a massive role in maintaining the life of a particular animal. However, in the invertebrates such as arthropods, the distinctive abdomen carries the reproductive organs mostly. One interesting feature of some of the insects (honeybees) is the presence of sting with barbs, which is useful in defending their enemies. The basic shape of the body has much to do with the shape of the belly in humans, as they try to keep it skinny to be more attractive and healthy. In addition to the functions of those organs in the abdomen listed here, the maintenance of body shape has also been a function of the abdomen. Furthermore, the muscle layer of the abdomen provides a great protection for the organs inside the abdominal cavity. The sub-cutaneous fat layer acts as an insulator and helps maintain the body heat for the metabolic activities.

Abdominal Cavity

The interior space or the volume between the diaphragm and the pelvic brim is technically the abdominal cavity. The upper margin of the cavity is the thoracic diaphragm and which is dome shaped. In addition to the anterior and posterior demarcations of the abdominal cavity, the dorsal limit of spinal cord and the ventral limit of abdominal wall are important to consider. The importance of the abdominal cavity is that it is the largest space inside the body. A very thin layer of cells known as the peritoneum covers the abdominal cavity, and which is a very protective layer. There are many organs suspended inside the abdominal cavity including the stomach, liver, gall bladder, urinary bladder, pancreas, small intestine and many more. The kidneys are located in the posterior and dorsal region of the cavity. The peritoneal fluid lubricates the organs suspended inside the abdominal cavity. The main function of the abdominal cavity is to provide housing for those organs. The suspended organs in the cavity are known as the viscera, and these visceral organs are covered by the greater omentum, a portion of the peritoneum. Usually, the abdominal cavity is ventral or towards the ground, but in humans, it is towards the front side since man stays in an upright posture.


What is the difference between Abdomen and Abdominal Cavity?

• Abdominal cavity is an interior space or volume, whereas the abdomen is the exterior boundary of the particular cavity.

• It is possible to observe the abdomen from outside, but the abdominal cavity has to be opened to observe.

• Abdomen has muscle and cell layers while abdominal cavity has visceral organs suspended inside it.

• Abdomen plays in insulation and protecting the abdominal cavity, while the cavity provides housing for those organs.