Human Body Cavities

Human Body Cavities

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Cavities: organ protection, support and separation

What are and functions

Within the human body there are spaces that do more than separate organs. These spaces also have the function of protecting and promoting sustenance. These spaces we call body cavities.


There are two main cavities. They are: dorsal cavity of the body and ventral cavity of the body. The first is formed by the bones of the skull, where we find the brain; and also through the vertebral canal (spine + spinal cord). The second is located in the belly region and is subdivided by the diaphragm into the thoracic and abdominopelvic cavities (where the viscera are).


In the thoracic cavity we find another subdivision: the pericardium cavity (where the heart is) and two cavities where the lungs are located (called pleural). There is even a central cavity called the mediastinum; in it are the thoracic viscera, minus the lungs.

In the abdominopelvic cavity we also find division. And this separation receives the following nomenclatures:

- Abdominal cavity (where the following organs are found: stomach, spleen, liver, gallbladder, small intestine and large part of the large intestine).

- Pelvic cavity (composed of the bladder, portions of the large intestine, and internal organs of the genital system).


The abdominopelvic cavity can be divided into more parts. This to facilitate the localization of organs. With this division it will be presented in nine parts or quadrants.

Last reviewed: 12/19/2018

By Elaine Barbosa de Souza
Undergraduate student in Biological Sciences, Methodist University of São Paulo.