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Mesocolon vs. Mesentery — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Urooj Arif — Updated on April 8, 2024
Mesocolon refers to the membrane attaching the colon to the abdominal wall, while Mesentery is a broader term for membranes supporting various intestines.
Mesocolon vs. Mesentery — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Mesocolon and Mesentery


Key Differences

Mesocolon specifically denotes the part of the mesentery that supports the colon, anchoring it to the posterior abdominal wall. It is essential for providing the colon with blood supply, lymphatic drainage, and nerves. Whereas mesentery refers to the double layer of peritoneum that extends to the digestive organs from the abdominal wall, serving not only the colon but also other parts of the intestines, such as the jejunum and ileum. It facilitates the passage of blood vessels, nerves, and lymphatics to the intestines.
While the mesocolon is a term that applies specifically to the colon, highlighting its role in the structural and functional support of this particular section of the large intestine, the mesentery encompasses a wider range of functions and anatomical structures, including the support of the small intestine and other abdominal organs. This makes the mesentery a more encompassing term in anatomical and medical discussions.
The mesocolon plays a crucial role in the mobility and stability of the colon, contributing to the efficient processing and movement of waste materials through the digestive system. On the other hand, the mesentery not only supports intestinal mobility and stability but also is involved in immune responses and fat storage, underlining its multifaceted functions within the abdomen.
In terms of surgical and clinical relevance, understanding the precise layout and characteristics of the mesocolon is vital for procedures involving the colon, such as resections for colorectal cancer. Conversely, the mesentery's broader scope makes it significant in a wide array of abdominal surgeries and conditions, affecting not just the colon but the entire gastrointestinal tract.
The development and classification of the mesocolon, with its segments corresponding to different parts of the colon (e.g., ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid mesocolon), illustrate the tailored approach to supporting the large intestine. Whereas the mesentery, classified based on the parts of the intestine it supports (e.g., mesentery of the small intestine), underscores its integral role in the overall health and function of the digestive system.

Comparison Chart


The membrane attaching the colon to the abdominal wall.
The membrane supporting the intestines to the abdominal wall.


Specific to the colon.
Covers various parts of the intestines, including the small intestine.


Supports colon, aids in blood supply and lymphatic drainage.
Supports intestines, facilitates blood supply, lymphatic drainage, and fat storage.

Clinical Relevance

Important in colon-related surgeries.
Relevant in a broad range of abdominal surgeries.


Ascending, transverse, descending, sigmoid mesocolon.
Includes specific mesenteries for different intestine parts.

Compare with Definitions


Involved in the vascular and nervous supply to the colon.
Damage to the mesocolon can affect the colon's blood flow.


Involved in immune responses and fat storage.
The mesentery plays a significant role in the body's immune defense.


Specific to colon support within the abdominal cavity.
The mesocolon's integrity is crucial for colonic health.


Encompasses a broad range of functions in the abdomen.
The mesentery's health is vital for overall digestive wellness.


Divided into segments based on the colon's parts.
The transverse mesocolon lies beneath the stomach.


Supports various parts of the intestines.
The mesentery of the small intestine is essential for nutrient absorption.


The membrane that secures the colon to the posterior abdominal wall.
The surgeon carefully navigated around the mesocolon during the procedure.


Vital for the structural integrity of the intestines.
Surgical procedures must preserve the mesentery's integrity.


Plays a role in the absorption and processing of waste.
A healthy mesocolon facilitates efficient waste movement.


A double layer of peritoneum extending to the digestive organs.
The mesentery provides a pathway for nerves and vessels.


(anatomy) The part of the mesentery that attaches the colon to the abdominal wall.


The mesentery is an organ that attaches the intestines to the posterior abdominal wall in humans and is formed by the double fold of peritoneum. It helps in storing fat and allowing blood vessels, lymphatics, and nerves to supply the intestines, among other functions.The mesocolon was thought to be a fragmented structure, with all named parts—the ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid mesocolons, the mesoappendix, and the mesorectum—separately terminating their insertion into the posterior abdominal wall.


The fold of peritoneum, or mesentery, attached to the colon.


Any of several folds of the peritoneum that connect the intestines to the dorsal abdominal wall, especially such a fold that envelops the jejunum and ileum.


Mesentery that holds the lower colon the back abdominal wall


(anatomy) The membrane that attaches the intestines to the wall of the abdomen, maintaining their position in the abdominal cavity, and supplying them with blood vessels, nerves, and lymphatics.


The membranes, or one of the membranes (consisting of a fold of the peritoneum and inclosed tissues), which connect the intestines and their appendages with the dorsal wall of the abdominal cavity. The mesentery proper is connected with the jejunum and ilium, the other mesenteries being called mesocæcum, mesocolon, mesorectum, etc.


One of the vertical muscular radiating partitions which divide the body cavity of Anthozoa into chambers.


A double layer of peritoneum that attaches to the back wall of the abdominal cavity and supports the small intestines

Common Curiosities

What is the mesocolon?

The mesocolon is a membrane that attaches the colon to the abdominal wall, providing support and facilitating vascular and nervous connections.

Can the mesentery be involved in diseases?

Yes, it can be involved in various conditions, including inflammation, infections, and cancer, affecting intestinal health and function.

Are the mesocolon and mesentery considered the same?

No, they serve related but distinct roles; the mesocolon is part of the broader mesentery structure.

Why is the mesocolon important in surgery?

It's crucial for procedures involving the colon as it contains vital blood vessels and nerves supplying the colon.

Is the mesentery specific to the small intestine?

While it supports the small intestine, it also supports other intestines, not just the small intestine.

What does damage to the mesocolon affect?

Damage can affect the colon's blood supply, lymphatic drainage, and nerve function, impacting colonic health.

What is the role of the mesentery in abdominal surgeries?

It's crucial for understanding the layout of abdominal organs and ensuring their blood supply during surgery.

How is the mesentery related to the peritoneum?

It's a double layer of peritoneum that extends to the digestive organs from the abdominal wall.

How does the mesentery differ from the mesocolon?

The mesentery supports various intestines by connecting them to the abdominal wall, while the mesocolon specifically supports the colon.

How does the mesentery contribute to immune responses?

It contains lymph nodes and immune cells that help fight infections and monitor gut bacteria.

What is the significance of the mesentery's fat storage?

It plays a role in metabolism and the storage of energy in the form of fat.

Can issues with the mesentery affect digestion?

Yes, since it supports the intestines, problems with the mesentery can lead to digestive issues.

How does the mesentery support the intestines?

By anchoring them to the abdominal wall and facilitating the passage of blood vessels and nerves.

What are the parts of the mesocolon?

It includes ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid segments, corresponding to colon parts.

Can the mesocolon be affected by colorectal cancer?

Yes, cancer can spread to the mesocolon, affecting its function and requiring careful surgical intervention.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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