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Circular folds facts for kids

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Circular folds
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Small intestine (jejunus-ileum) with circular folds.
Latin plicae circulares

The circular folds are large flaps projecting into the lumen of the small intestine.


The entire small intestine has circular folds of mucous membrane. The majority extend around the cylinder of the small intestine for about one-half or two-thirds of its circumference, but some form complete circles, and others have a spiral direction; the latter usually extend a little more than once around the bowel, but occasionally two or three times.

The larger folds are about 1 cm. in depth at their broadest part; but the greater number are smaller.

The larger and smaller folds alternate with each other.

Difference from other gastrointestinal folds

Unlike the gastric folds in the stomach, they are permanent, and are not obliterated when the intestine is distended.


The circular folds slow the passage of the partly digested food along the intestines, and afford an increased surface for absorption.

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