Master Retroperitoneal Structures with Picmonic for Medicine

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Retroperitoneal Structures

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Retroperitoneal Structures

Retro-city Parrot-toe
The retroperitoneal structures are a commonly tested topic on board exams. They can be remembered by the mnemonic, SAD PUCKER. The "S" is for suprarenal, or adrenal, glands. The "A" is for aorta and the inferior vena cava. The "D" is for the 2nd through 4th parts of the duodenum. The "P" is the head, neck, and body of the pancreas. The "U" is for the ureters. The "C" is for the ascending and descending colon. The "K" is for the kidneys. The "E" is for esophagus. And finally, the "R" is for rectum.
Sad Pucker-face

The mnemonic "SAD PUCKER" can be used to help memorize retroperitoneal structures. The mnemonic is as follows: the Suprarenal (Adrenal) gland, Aorta and IVC, Duodenum, Pancreas, Ureter, Colon, Kidney, Esophagus, and Rectum.

Suprarenal (Adrenal) Gland
Adrenal Gland

The suprarenal, or adrenal, gland is a retroperitoneal structures. This gland releases catecholamines, steroid hormones, and plays a role in blood pressure regulation.

Aorta and Inferior Vena Cava
A-orca and In-fur Vine Cave

The Aorta and IVC are both retroperitoneal structures.

Duodenum (Parts 2-4)

Not all of the parts of the duodenum are retroperitoneal structures. Retroperitoneal parts of the duodenum include the 2nd through the 4th parts.

Pancreas (Head, Neck, and Body)

All of the parts of the pancreas (head, neck, and body) are retroperitoneal except for the tail. The pancreas is the most commonly injured retroperitoneal organ.


The ureters are both retroperitoneal structures. They deliver urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

Colon (Ascending and Descending)

The ascending and descending colon are both retroperitoneal structures. The transverse and sigmoid colon are both intraperitoneal.


The kidneys are both retroperitoneal structures. They sit below the adrenal glands, which are both retroperitoneal as well.


The esophagus is a retroperitoneal structure. It delivers food from the oral cavity to the stomach.


The rectum is the final retroperitoneal structure we will discuss in this Picmonic.


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