What is Large Intestine?
The large intestine is the final section of the gastrointestinal tract that performs the vital task of absorbing water and vitamins while converting digested food into feces. Although shorter than the small intestine in length, the large intestine is considerably thicker in diameter, thus giving it its name. The large intestine is about 5 feet (1.5 m) in length and 2.5 inches (6-7 cm) in diameter in the living body, but becomes much larger postmortem as the smooth muscle tissue of the intestinal wall relaxes.
The large intestine wraps around the border of the abdominal body cavity from the right side of the body, across the top of the abdomen, and finally down the left sid
Beginning on the right side of the abdomen, the large intestine is connected to the ilium of the small intestine via the ileocecal sphincter. From the ileocecal sphincter, the large intestine forms a sideways “T,” extending both superiorly and inferiorly.
The inferior region of the large intestine forms a short dead-end segment known as the cecum that terminates in the vermiform appendix. The superior region forms a hollow tube known as the ascending colon that climbs along the right side of the abdomen. Just inferior to the diaphragm, the ascending colon turns about 90 degrees toward the middle of the body at the hepatic flexure and continues across the abdomen as the transverse colon.
At the left side of the abdomen, the transverse colon turns about 90 degrees at the splenic flexure and runs down the left side of the abdomen as the descending colon. At the end of the descending colon, the large intestine bends slightly medially at the sigmoid flexure to form the S-shaped sigmoid colon before straightening into the rectum. The rectum is the enlarged final segment of the large intestine that terminates at the anus.