A suction tube introduced into the duodenum usually relieves abdominal distention in cases of obstruction of the small intestine. Introduction of a suction tube into the duodenum may partially relieve the abdominal distention when the colon is obstructed. We have been interested in the variability of the relief produced by the use of suction tubes in cases of obstruction of the colon. In order to determine the cause of this variability we have studied the mechanism which separates the small intestine from the colon.
At the present time the most widely accepted opinion is that the cecum is separated from the small intestine by a sphincter muscle. An alternative, and the less popular, opinion is that the cecum is separated from the small intestine by a valve.
We have examined more than seventy-five specimens of the ileocecal portion of the intestine obtained at necropsy. The general size, shape and structure