What are the Four Quadrants of the Abdomen?

The abdomen can be divided into four quadrants. Dividing up the abdomen in this way can help when assessing a patient with abdominal pain. The location of the abdominal pain can give first responders a clue to the underlying problem.

Each abdominal quadrant contains different organs and has different medical conditions associated with it.

The diagram below shows the four quadrants of the abdomen.

The Four Abdominal Quadrants

Let’s take a look at each abdominal quadrant in more detail.

Right Upper Quadrant (RUQ)

The right upper quadrant contains:

  • Part of the liver
  • Gallbladder
  • Right kidney
  • Part of the stomach
  • Part of the large bowel (colon)

A common cause of right upper quadrant pain is gallbladder problems. For example, gallstones or gallbladder infections can cause pain in the right upper quadrant.

Left Upper Quadrant (LUQ)

The left upper quadrant contains:

  • Most of the stomach
  • Spleen
  • Part of the liver
  • Left kidney
  • Main part of the pancreas
  • Small & large bowel

Right Lower Quadrant (RLQ)

The right lower quadrant contains:

  • Appendix
  • Right ovary
  • Part of the large bowel

Acute Appendicitis can cause pain in the right lower quadrant. The pain may affect the entire abdomen, before moving to (localizing) the right lower quadrant as appendicitis develops.

Ovarian pain may also cause pain in the right lower quadrant if the right ovary is affected.

Left Lower Quadrant (LLQ)

The left lower quadrant contains:

  • Left ovary
  • Part of the large bowel
  • Left ureter

Diverticulitis, inflammation of the lining of the large bowel, may cause pain in the left lower quadrant.

Ovarian pain may also cause pain in the left lower quadrant if the left ovary is affected.

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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