The abdominopelvic region is further divided into quadrants and regions. (See Figure Abdominopelvic quadrants and regions.) Because the abdomin/o/pelv/ic cavity is a large area and contains many organs, it is useful to divide it into smaller sections. One method divides the abdomin/o/pelv/ic cavity into quadrants. A second method divides the abdomin/o/pelv/ic cavity into regions. Physicians and health care professionals use quadrants or regions as a point of reference.
The larger division of the abdomin/o/pelv/ic cavity consists of four quadrants: right upper quadrant (RUQ), left upper quadrant (LUQ), right lower quadrant (RLQ), and left lower quadrant (LLQ). Locate these quadrants in Figure Abdominopelvic quadrants and regions.(A) Four quadrants of the abdomen. The meaning of the following abbreviations
RUQ: right upper quadrant
LUQ: left upper quadrant
RLQ: right lower quadrant
LLQ: left lower quadrant
Abdominopelvic quadrants and regions. (A) Four quadrants of the abdomen. (B) Nine regions of the abdomen showing superficial organs.
Quadrants are useful in describing the location in the body in which a surgical procedure will be performed. They also are useful in denoting incision sites or the location of abnormal masses such as tumors. A tumor located in the right lower quadrant will most likely be denoted in the medical record with the abbreviation RLQ.
Quadrants may also be used to describe the location of a patient’s symptoms. The physician may pinpoint a patient’s abdominal pain in the RLQ. Such a finding could indicate a diagnosis of appendicitis, because the appendix is located in that quadrant. Pain in another quadrant, such as the LLQ, would indicate a different diagnosis.
Whereas larger sections of the abdomin/o/pelv/ic cavity are divided into four quadrants, the smaller sections are divided into nine regions, each of which corresponds to a region near a specific point in the body. As with quadrants, body region designation is also used to describe the location of internal organs and the origin of pain. Review Figure Abdominopelvic quadrants and regions (B)Nine regions of the abdomen showing superficial organs. to see the location of various organs within these regions.
The epi/gastr/ic region may be the location of “heartburn” pain. Pain in this area could be symptomatic of many abnormal conditions, including indigestion or heart attack. The area of heartburn pain may be felt in the epi/gastr/ic region.
The right and left hypo/chondr/iac regions are located on each side of the epi/gastr/ic region and directly under the cartilage of the ribs.The lumbar regions consist of the middle right and middle left regions, located near the waistline of the body.
The center of the umbilic/al region marks the point where the umbilic/al cord of the mother entered the fetus. This is the navel or, in layman’s terms, the “belly button.” A hernia is a protrusion or projection of an organ through the wall of the cavity that normally contains it. A common type of hernia that may occur, particularly in males, is an inguin/al hernia.
A hernia on the right side of the groin is called a right inguin/al hernia The area between the right and the left inguin/al regions is called the hypo/gastr/icregion. This region contains the large intestine (colon), which is involved in the removal of solid waste from the body.
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