What is the intestinal cecum?

The intestinal cecum, or cecum (from the Latin cecum meaning cecum), is an intraperitoneal pouch that appears in the most proximal or first part of the large intestine. It is located on the right side of the body, after the ileum and before the ascending colon.

The name “blind” responds to its structure, which can be compared to a “dead end”. The ileum, the last part of the small intestine, joins the large intestine through the ileocecal valve and does so leaving a descending portion of the large intestine with no outlet, which is the part known as the cecum; this part is joined by a vermiform appendix.

The cecum and appendix are formed by the enlargement of the midgut during embryonic development and are housed in the lower right quadrant in the suprapubic region, where it is possible to palpate it if it is full of gas or feces.

The cecum is present in most amniotic animals (mammals, reptiles, and birds), although no known species of amphibians have it. It is especially large in herbivorous mammals, sometimes even wider than the colon, with large numbers of bacteria that help digest hard-to-digest plant parts, such as cellulose. Some mammals do not have a blind person, like bears and the red panda.


The blind person receives chyme from the small intestine and performs the following functions:

absorbs water and electrolytes. Compact the chyme to start forming stools and lubricate them by mixing them with mucus to facilitate their advancement. houses bacteria that facilitate the digestion of cellulose and other types of insoluble fiber.
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Vascularization and innervation

The cecum is supplied by the ileocecal artery, which is a branch of the superior mesenteric artery. The ileocecal artery divides into several branches, including the anterior and posterior cecal arteries that supply the cecum and the appendicular artery that supplies the vermiform appendix. Blood is drained through the ileocecal vein.

Both the cecum and the appendix are innervated by the autonomic nervous system, specifically by the superior mesenteric plexus that runs parallel to the ilecocecal artery. Lymphatic drainage from the cecum empties into the upper and lower ileocecal lymph nodes.

medical implications

The cecum is involved carcinoid tumors of the cecum and appendix. These types of tumors are slow growing and originate in cells of the neuroendocrine system. They are usually related to carcinoid syndrome.

Some cases of appendicitis can also affect the cecum.

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