Differences Between Small and Large Intestine

Both small and large intestines form important component of the digestive system of human body. They are continuous with one another but there are some marked differences between the two, as explained below.

External differences:

Mobility:

Most of the small intestine (with the exception of duodenum) is mobile, while most of the large intestine lacks mobility.

Caliber:

The caliber of the filled small intestine is generally smaller than the caliber of the filled large intestine.

Longitudinal muscle:

The longitudinal muscle of the wall of the small intestine forms a continuous layer around it. On the other hand, the longitudinal muscle in the large intestine is reduced to three bands, called teniae coli.

Fatty tags:

The small intestine has no fatty tags attached to its wall. In contrast, the large intestine has proper fatty tags, known as the appendices epiploicae.

Smoothness:

The wall of the small intestine is smooth, while that of the large intestine is sacculated forming haustra.

Internal differences:

Mucous membrane:

The mucous membrane of the small intestine has permanent folds, known as the plicae circulars. These are absent in the large intestine, where occasional incomplete folds may be present.

Villi:

The mucous membrane of small intestine presents numerous microscopic projections called villi. These help to increase the surface area of the intestine. However, they are absent in the large intestine.

Lymphoid tissue:

The mucous membrane of small intestine presents aggregations of lymphoid tissue, called Peyer’s patches. These are absent in the large intestine.