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Dec 16, 2021

The rectum is the final straight portion of the large intestine in humans and some other mammals, and the gut in others. The adult human rectum is about 12 centimetres (4.7 in) long,[2] and begins at the rectosigmoid junction, the end of the sigmoid colon, at the level of the third sacral vertebra or the sacral promontory depending upon what definition is used.[3] Its caliber is similar to that of the sigmoid colon at its commencement, but it is dilated near its termination, forming the rectal ampulla. It terminates at the level of the anorectal ring (the level of the puborectalis sling) or the dentate line, again depending upon which definition is used.[3] In humans, the rectum is followed by the anal canal which is about 4 centimetres (1.6 in) long, before the gastrointestinal tract terminates at the anal verge. The word rectum comes from the Latinrectumintestinum, meaning straight intestine.

Final portion of the large intestine
“Rectal” redirects here. For the route of administration, see Rectal administration. For the conic sections, see Latus rectum and Semi-latus rectum.


Scheme of digestive tract, with rectum marked

Anatomy of the anus and rectum
Precursor Hindgut
Part of Large intestine
System Gastrointestinal system
Artery Superior rectal artery (first two-thirds of rectum), middle rectal artery (last third of rectum)
Vein Superior rectal veins, middle rectal veins
Nerve Inferior anal nerves, inferior mesenteric ganglia[1]
Lymph Inferior mesenteric lymph nodes, pararectal lymph nodes, internal iliac lymph nodes, Deep inguinal lymph nodes
Function Store feces prior to defecation
Latin rectum intestinum
MeSH D012007
TA98 A05.7.04.001
TA2 2998
FMA 14544
Anatomical terminology

Major parts of the
Gastrointestinal tract

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The rectum lies in front of the sacrum. It lies behind the bladder in males (left), and the vagina and uterus in females (right).

The rectum is a part of the lower gastrointestinal tract. The rectum is a continuation of the sigmoid colon, and connects to the anus. The rectum follows the shape of the sacrum and ends in an expanded section called an ampulla where feces is stored before its release via the anal canal. An ampulla (from Latin bottle) is a cavity, or the dilated end of a duct, shaped like a Roman ampulla.[4] The rectum joins with the sigmoid colon at the level of S3, and joins with the anal canal as it passes through the pelvic floor muscles.[4]

Unlike other portions of the colon, the rectum does not have distinct taeniae coli.[5] The taeniae blend with one another in the sigmoid colon five centimeters above the rectum, becoming a singular longitudinal muscle that surrounds the rectum on all sides for its entire length.[6][5]

. . . Rectum . . .

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. . . Rectum . . .