The jejunum is a part of the small intestine.  The Jejunum plays an important role in the absorption of nutrients from the food we consume. This article discusses the structure, function, imaging and importance of the Jejunum in maintaining overall health.

What is the Jejunum?

The jejunum is the middle section of the small intestine, sandwiched between the duodenum and the ileum. It is a vital component in the digestive process, responsible for absorbing nutrients and minerals from digested food into the bloodstream.

Structure and Location of the Jejunum

The jejunum starts at the duodenojejunal flexure and extends to the ileum. Unlike other parts of the digestive tract, it is not fixed in place but is mobile, allowing for efficient digestion and nutrient absorption. The lining of the jejunum is specialized for absorption, featuring folds, villi, and microvilli that increase its surface area significantly.

The Role of the Jejunum in Digestion

Digestion is a complex process, and the jejunum plays a central role. After the initial breakdown of food in the stomach and duodenum, the partially digested food enters the jejunum. Here, enzymes and bile acids facilitate the absorption of essential nutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and vitamins.

Nutrient Absorption in the Jejunum

The jejunum’s unique structure enables efficient nutrient absorption. The folds, villi, and microvilli in its lining ensure that nutrients can be absorbed quickly and effectively into the bloodstream. This section of the small intestine is particularly important for absorbing sugars, amino acids, and fatty acids.

Health Conditions Affecting the Jejunum

Several health conditions can affect the jejunum, impacting its ability to absorb nutrients. Conditions such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and intestinal infections can lead to inflammation or damage to the jejunum’s lining, resulting in nutrient deficiencies and other health issues.

Imaging of Jejunum

Capsule Endoscopy

Capsule endoscopy represents a significant advancement in imaging the jejunum. Patients swallow a small, pill-sized camera that captures thousands of images of the small intestine as it passes through the digestive tract. This non-invasive technique is invaluable for examining the entire length of the jejunum, identifying obscure bleeding, and detecting conditions such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease.

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

CT scans offer a detailed cross-sectional view of the body’s internal structures, including the jejunum. By utilizing X-rays and computer technology, CT scans can detect obstructions, infections, and tumors in the jejunum. This imaging method is crucial for planning surgical interventions and monitoring the progression of diseases affecting the small intestine.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of the body’s organs and tissues, including the jejunum. Unlike CT scans, MRI does not use ionizing radiation, making it a safer option for repeated imaging. MRI is particularly useful for visualizing soft tissues and detecting inflammatory bowel diseases and malignancies in the jejunum.

Barium X-ray

In a barium X-ray, patients consume a barium sulfate solution that coats the lining of the digestive tract, making the jejunum and other parts of the small intestine visible on X-ray images. This technique is used to investigate blockages, structural abnormalities, and motility disorders of the jejunum.


Although not as commonly used for imaging the jejunum due to its deep location within the abdominal cavity, ultrasound can be helpful in certain cases. It uses sound waves to produce images and can be used to detect fluid accumulation, abscesses, and some tumors in and around the jejunum.

The Importance of Jejunum Imaging in Medical Diagnosis

Advanced imaging techniques are crucial for the accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of conditions affecting the jejunum. They enable healthcare professionals to:

• Detect abnormalities and diseases at an early stage.
• Monitor the progression of chronic conditions.
• Plan surgical interventions with precision.
• Guide biopsies and other diagnostic procedures.
• Evaluate the effectiveness of treatments.

Importance of the Jejunum in Maintaining Health

The jejunum’s role in nutrient absorption makes it essential for overall health. Without efficient nutrient absorption, the body cannot function properly, leading to deficiencies and health problems. Maintaining the health of the jejunum and the entire digestive system is crucial for well-being.

FAQs About the Jejunum

What is the difference between the jejunum and the ileum?

The jejunum and ileum are both parts of the small intestine, but they have different roles. The jejunum is primarily involved in the absorption of nutrients, while the ileum absorbs vitamin B12 and bile acids for reuse.

Can you live without a jejunum?

While it is possible to live without a jejunum, it requires significant dietary adjustments and medical interventions to compensate for the loss of nutrient absorption.

How can I improve my jejunum health?

Eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, and avoiding harmful substances can help maintain the health of the jejunum and the entire digestive system.


The jejunum is a critical component of the digestive system, playing a key role in absorbing the nutrients our bodies need to function. Understanding its structure, function, and importance can help us appreciate the complexity of our digestive processes and the significance of maintaining digestive health.

Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

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