Difference Between Small Intestine and Large Intestine

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The difference between the small intestine and large intestine is due to mainly three factors like length, diameter and Involvement in the process of digestion. Both small and large intestine is the part of the intestinal system.

Length: The length of the small intestine is 9 m which is larger in comparison to the large intestine whose length is about 1.5 m.

Diameter: The diameter or width of the small intestine is 3.5-4.5 cm which is smaller than the large intestine whose diameter is about 4-6 cm.

Involvement in the process of digestion: The small intestine involves in the process of digestion whereas large intestine does not participate in the process of digestion.

Content: Difference Between Small Intestine and Large Intestine

  1. Comparison Chart
  2. Definition of Small Intestine
  3. Definition of Large intestine
  4. Components of Small Intestine
  5. Components of Large Intestine
  6. Key Differences Between Small Intestine and Large Intestine
  7. Conclusion

Comparison Chart

PropertiesSmall intestineLarge intestine
DefinitionIt is the intestinal part which extends from the stomach to the large intestineIt is the terminal intestinal part which extends from the appendix to the anus
Length9 meters in length1.5 meters in length
Width3.5 - 4.5 cm in diameter4 – 6 cm in diameter
ComponentsDuodenum, jejunum and ileumColon, cecum, rectum and anal canal
MovementExhibits small movementThere is no movement as the large intestine is fixed
VilliPresent in the internal surfaceAbsent
Peyers PatchesPresent in the internal surface as aggregation of lymphoid tissueAbsent
HaustraAbsentPresent
Epiploic appendagesAbsentPresent
Circular foldsPalicae circulares presentAbsent
Muscle bandsConsist of circular layer of longitudinal muscleConsist of longitudinal muscles in three bands known as Tineae coli
Wall surfaceSmoothSacculated
AbsorptionInvolved in absorption of nutrients from the digested foodInvolved in absorption of water and electrolytes from the undigested portion of food
FunctionIt digests the undigested or partially digested food by secreting intestinal fluidsIt expels out the waste material through the anus

Definition of Small Intestine

The small intestine can define as the part of the intestine which extends from the lower part of the stomach to the part of the large intestine. It is a very long and narrow tube with a smooth wall surface.

The small intestine is the region which finds as the coiled tube in the abdominal region and comprises of three components from the proximal end to the distal end.

The small intestine subdivides into three parts namely duodenum, jejunum and ileum. It performs several functions in the abdominal region like digestion of food, adsorption of nutrients etc.

Definition of Large Intestine

The large intestine can define as the part of the intestine which extends from the appendix to the anus. It is a wider and short tube with a sacculated wall surface.

The large intestine is the region which frames the coiled tube (small intestine) in the abdominal region and comprises of four components.

The large intestine subdivides into four parts namely cecum, colon, rectum and anal canal. It performs several functions in the abdominal region like the movement of food, adsorption of electrolytes and water etc.

Components of Small Intestine

It comprises of three components like:

Components of Small Intestine

Duodenum: It is the first part of the small intestine which is the shortest region of 25.4 cm. Duodenum begins from the pyloric sphincter. It bends posteriorly behind the peritoneum. Then duodenum forms a C-shape around the pancreas. Duodenum then again bends and returns to the peritoneal cavity and joins with the jejunum. The ampulla is the region which opens into the duodenum.

Jejunum: It is the second portion of the small intestine which measures 0.9 m in length. The jejunum is the part of the small intestine that begins from the distal end of the duodenum to the terminal part of the ileum. It is present in the posterior abdominal wall.

Ileum: It is the longest part of the small intestine which measures 1.8 m length. The ileum is thick and developed into mucosal folds. It joins the cecum of the large intestine to the ileocecal valve. The ileum is located at the posterior abdominal wall.

Components of Large Intestine

It comprises of four components like:

Components of large Intestine

Cecum: It is the first region of the large intestine which is sac-like. The cecum is inferior to the ileocecal valve. It measures the length of 6 cm. vermiform appendix attaches to the cecum which comprises of lymphoid tissues.

Colon: It moves upwards on the right side of the abdomen will refer as “Ascending colon”. Then the colon slightly bends and will refer as “Transverse colon” where it forms right colic or hepatic flexure. Colon then moves towards the left side of the abdomen and bends sharply to form left colic or splenic flexure. Colon then moves downwards or in descending order and will refer as “Descending colon”. Then colon inferiorly enters to the pelvis and forms a “Sigmoid colon” which extends medially.

Rectum: Sigmoid colon enters the rectum which then extends anteriorly to the sacrum and coccyx. Rectum consists of rectal valves composed of three lateral bends of transverse folds. Its primary function is the separation of faeces and gas to prevent simultaneous release.

Anal canal: It is the last part of the large intestine. The anal canal is located in the perineum region and outside the abdominal pelvic cavity. It measures 3.8 – 5 cm in length. Anal canal comprises of two sphincters:

Internal anal sphincters: It is composed of smooth muscle i.e. it is under the control of involuntary muscle activity.

External anal sphincters: It is composed of skeletal muscle which is under voluntary control.

Key Differences Between Small Intestine and Large Intestine

  1. The small intestine is the intestinal part which extends from the stomach to the opening of the large intestine that is cecum. The large intestine is the intestinal part which extends from the appendix to the anal canal.
  2. Small intestine measures 9 m length and 3.5-4.5 cm diameter whereas large intestine measures 1.5 m length and diameter of 4-6 cm.
  3. Small intestine exhibits small movement whereas large intestine remains fixed.
  4. Villi are the finger-like projections, found in the internal surface of the small intestine which increases the surface area of absorption and helps in digestion of food whereas absent in large intestine.
  5. Peyer’s patches are found as the small patches which are composed of lymphoid tissue. In the small intestine, Peyer’s patches are found in the ileum region whereas absent in large intestine.
  6. Haustra are the sac-like structure found in the large intestine whereas absent in small intestine.
  7. Epiploic appendages are the small pouches found along the colon which are present in large intestine whereas absent in small intestine.
  8. In the small intestine, circular folds are present as “Palicae circulares” whereas absent in large intestine.
  9. The wall surface of the small intestine is “Smooth” whereas the wall surface of the large intestine is “Sacculated”.
  10. The small intestine absorbs nutrients whereas large intestine absorbs water and electrolytes from the food.

Conclusion

Therefore we can conclude that there are many differences in the size, structure, function etc. between the small and large intestine. Despite many differences, both small and large intestine works co-ordinately.

The intestine can define as the long muscular tube that extends from the lower part of the stomach to the part of the anus. The intestine is the part of the digestive system which consists of the small and large intestine which carry out the major functions like digestion and movement of food, adsorption of nutrients etc. so, basically these two completes the digestive system.

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