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Other Terms: Mesenterium, Mésentère
The mesentery is the fan-shaped suspensory ligament of the jejunum and ileum. It is composed of extraperitoneal connective tissue, blood vessels, nerves, lymphatics, and an investment of peritoneum. The intestinal border of the mesentery is about six and a half meters in length and is attached to the small intestine. The root of the mesentery is about fifteen centimeters in length, and is attached to the posterior wall of the abdominal cavity. The line of attachment of the root of the mesentery is oblique. It extends from the point of termination of the duodenum, which is about on a level with the lower border of the pancreas, and at the left side of the second lumbar vertebra, to the base of the cecum, which is in the right iliac fossa, near the right sacro-i1iac articulation. The average length of the mesentery, from its vertebral to its intestinal attachment, is from twenty to twenty-two centimeters and is greater at that part which suspends the coils of the intestine lying between two and three meters from the duodenum, where it can reach the length of twenty-five centimeters. The mesentery presents two surfaces, both covered by peritoneum. The peritoneum on the right or upper surface is continuous with the inner layer of the transverse mesocolon and with the peritoneum which forms the inner layer of the ascending mesocolon. The peritoneum of the lower surface is continuous with the peritoneum which forms the inner layer of the descending mesocolon and sigmoid mesocolon. In corpulent persons the mesentery, like the greater omentum, contains an additional quantity of fat. This increased weight tends to elongate the mesentery by dragging, and therefore predisposes to hernia.