Trauma to the abdominal area may cause a serious, life-threatening injury that may go untreated because immediate symptoms may not be evident. The membranous peritoneum surrounds some organs suspended from the abdominal wall, and others such as the kidneys, pancreas, vena cava, aorta and duodenum have the added protection of being located in the retroperitoneal space, partially covered by the peritoneum. Lack of bony protection in the abdominal area makes the underlying organs and surrounding structures susceptible to serious injury from blunt force trauma. Although there may be minimal injury to the outside of the body, there may be life-threatening internal damage. The examiner may overlook some of the subtle symptoms associated with abdominal injuries during the initial exam. For this reason a series of examinations over a period of hours and days are crucial.