[Skip to Navigation]
Moments in Surgical History
January 1, 2005

The History of Anatomy and Surgery of the Preperitoneal Space

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Centers for Surgical Anatomy and Technique, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga.

Arch Surg. 2005;140(1):90-94. doi:10.1001/archsurg.140.1.90

Preperitoneal (properitoneal) space is the space between the peritoneum and transversalis fascia. Bogros (1786-1825) described a triangular space in the iliac region between the iliac fascia, transversalis fascia, and parietal peritoneum. In the modern concept, this space lies between the peritoneum and posterior lamina of the transversalis fascia. In 1858, Retzius described the homonymous space, situated anterior and lateral to the urinary bladder (prevesical space). In 1975, Fowler reported that the preperitoneal fascia of the groin is distinct from the transversalis fascia. Preperitoneal herniorrhaphy may be subdivided into 2 approaches: transperitoneal and inguinal. We present herein the evolution of approaches to the preperitoneal space from use of the transperitoneal (or posterior) to use of the anterior preperitoneal and posterior preperitoneal approaches. As anatomic knowledge has increased, the evolution of laparoscopic surgery has paralleled that of open procedures.