Ileocecal valve

Ileocecal valve
Ileocecal valve
Interior of the cecum and lower end of ascending colon, showing colic valve. ("Colic valve" is an older term for the ileocecal valve.)
Ileocecal valve.jpg
Endoscopic image of cecum with arrow pointing to ileocecal valve in foreground.
Latin valva ileocaecalis
Gray's subject #249 1179
Artery ileocolic artery
Vein ileocolic vein
MeSH Ileocecal+valve

The ileocecal valve, or ileocaecal valve, is of a bilabial papilla structure with physiological sphincter muscle situated at the junction of the small intestine (ileum) and the large intestine, with recent evidence indicating an anatomical sphincter may also be present in humans)[1] Its critical function is to limit the reflux of colonic contents into the ileum.[2]

The ileocecal valve is distinctive because it is the only site in the GI tract which is used for Vitamin B12 and bile acid absorption.[citation needed]

Functionally, roughly two litres of fluid enters the colon daily through the ileocecal valve.



The histology of the ileocecal valve shows an abrupt change from a villous mucosa pattern of the ileum to a more colonic mucosa. A thickening of the muscularis mucosa[citation needed], which is the smooth muscle tissue found beneath the mucosal layer of the digestive tract. A thickening of the muscularis externa is also noted[1].

There is also a variable amount of lymphatic tissue found at the valve.[3]

Clinical significance

During colonoscopy, the ileocecal valve is used, along with the appendiceal orifice, in the identification of the cecum. This is important, as it indicates that a complete colonoscopy has been performed. The ileocecal valve is typically located on the last fold before entry into the cecum, and can be located from the direction of curvature of the appendiceal orifice, in what is known as the bow and arrow sign.[4]

Intubation of the ileocecal valve is typically performed in colonoscopy to evaluate the distal, or lowest part of the ileum. Small bowel endoscopy can also be performed by double-balloon enteroscopy through intubation of the ileocecal valve.[5]


Tumors of the ileocecal valve are rare, but have been reported in the literature.[6][7]


It was described by the Dutch physician Nicolaes Tulp (1593–1674), and thus it is sometimes known as Tulp's valve.


  1. ^ a b Pollard, MF; Thompson-Fawcett, MW; Stringer, MD (2011). "The human ileocaecal junction: anatomical evidence of a sphincter". Surg Radiol Anat [Epub ahead of print]. PMID 21863224. 
  2. ^ Barret KE. "Lange Gastrointestinal Physiology". The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2006.
  3. ^ Burkitt HG, Young B, Heath JW. Wheater's Functional Histology: a text and colour atlas. Churchill Livingstone, London, 1993.
  4. ^ Cotton PB, Williams CB. Practical Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Blackwell Publishers, London, 1996
  5. ^ Ross, AS; Waxman, I; Semrad, C; Dye, C (2005). "Balloon-assisted intubation of the ileocecal valve to facilitate retrograde double-balloon enteroscopy". Gastrointestinal endoscopy 62 (6): 987–8. doi:10.1016/j.gie.2005.09.002. PMID 16301054. 
  6. ^ Yörük, G; Aksöz, K; Buyraç, Z; Unsal, B; Nazli, O; Ekinci, N (2004). "Adenocarcinoma of the ileocecal valve: report of a case". The Turkish journal of gastroenterology : the official journal of Turkish Society of Gastroenterology 15 (4): 268–9. PMID 16249985. 
  7. ^ Song, HJ; Ko, BM; Cheon, YK; Ryu, CB; Lee, JS; Lee, MS; Shim, CS (2005). "Isolated ileocecal lymphoma". Gastrointestinal endoscopy 61 (2): 293–4. PMID 15729248. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • ileocecal valve — n the valve formed by two folds of mucous membrane at the opening of the ileum into the large intestine called also Bauhin s valve, ileocolic valve, valvula coli * * * ileocolic valve a valvelike structure formed by the flaps or lips, one above… …   Medical dictionary

  • ileocecal valve — noun valve between the ileum of the small intestine and the cecum of the large intestine; prevents material from flowing back from the large to the small intestine • Hypernyms: ↑valve * * * noun : the valve formed by two folds of mucous membrane… …   Useful english dictionary

  • opening of ileocecal valve — the slitlike or oval orifice in the ileocecal valve, seen in the cadaver. It has two flaps or lips, one above and one below, that form the valve and project at thickened folds into the lumen of the large intestine. In the living individual this… …   Medical dictionary

  • inferior lip of ileocecal valve — the inferior of the two lips of the ileocecal valve of a cadaver, corresponding to the labrum inferius ostii ilealis in a living person …   Medical dictionary

  • superior lip of ileocecal valve — the superior of the two lips of the ileocecal valve of a cadaver, corresponding to the labrum superius ostii ilealis in a living person …   Medical dictionary

  • valve — valveless, adj. valvelike, adj. /valv/, n., v., valved, valving. n. 1. any device for halting or controlling the flow of a liquid, gas, or other material through a passage, pipe, inlet, outlet, etc. 2. a hinged lid or other movable part that… …   Universalium

  • ileocecal orifice — 1. ostium ileale. 2. opening of ileocecal valve …   Medical dictionary

  • ileocecal —    Pertaining to both the last section of the small intestine (the ileum) and the beginning of the large intestines, the ascending colon or cecum.    Example: Ileocecal valve …   Herbal-medical glossary

  • valve of bauhin — bōˈaⁿ Usage: usually capitalized B Etymology: after Gaspard Bauhin died 1624 Swiss botanist and anatomist : ileocecal valve …   Useful english dictionary

  • orifice of ileocecal valve — see under opening …   Medical dictionary

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