The fact that the great omentum is commonly found attached to areas of inflammation in the abdomen when such areas exist has long been known to surgeons. What the compelling forces are that attract it to these foci has not been determined. The term "policeman of the abdomen" has been applied in several languages to the omentum, but what is meant by this has not been explained in any of them. Peristalsis is supposed to account for its actual movements, though there is no proof of this.
In the beginning of my studies, which were made through a glass window in the abdomen, the first thing noted was that in those conditions which are attended by the migration of the omentum the peristalsis is suppressed; and conversely in conditions (for instance, obstruction) attended by active peristalsis, there is no movement of the omentum. The explanation for this will appear later.