Abdominal Wall

Abdominal wall muscles

Layers (including hernia)

The abdominal wall superficial fascia is made up of mostly a single layer with differing amounts of fat. It is separated at the groin into 2 layers that contain the superficial vessels, nerves and the superficial inguinal lymph nodes. The deep fascia is more membranous and thinner than the superficial and has a large amount of yellow elastic fibers.

Abdominal wall muscles groups

The anterolateral muscles 

  • Obliquus externus – The largest/most superficial of the three flat muscles.
  • Obliquus internus –  Deep to the Obliquus externus.
  • Transversus – Most internal. Deep  to the Obliquus internus.
  • Rectus –  A long flat muscle that travels the whole length of the anterior abdomen. It is separated right to left by the linea alba.
  • Pyramidalis – A small triangular shaped muscle that sits in front of the Rectus in the lower portion of the Abdomen.

The posterior muscles.

  • Psoas major –  A long, spindle-shaped (fusiform) muscle that sits at the Lumbar-Spine to the edge of the lesser pelvis.
  • Psoas minor – A long, thin muscle that sits in front of the Psoas major.
  • Iliacus – A flat, triangular muscle. It fills the iliac fossa.
  • Quadratus lumborum – An irregular muscle. Quadrilateral in shape, wider at the top.

Vascular Anatomy

Here is a list of the Abdominal wall vessels. These are mostly for informational purposes. There is no indication that they are on the Registry exam.

  • Deep arteries
  • Inferior deep epigastric arteries
  • Superior deep epigastric arteries
  • Deep circumflex iliac arteries
  • Musculophrenic arteries
  • Various Superficial arteries
  • Veins — Anterior abdominal wall venous drainage varies more than the arteries though they typically follow the course of the arteries.
  • Collateral flow channels


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I am the founder and lead Instructor here at ExamRefresh.com. I strive to help those that are entering the field of Ultrasound to be the best that they can be. Ultrasound is my passion.

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