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Illu stomach.jpg
Diagram from
Rugae can be seen within stomach.
Anatomical terminology
Rugae folds behind the anterior teeth in the hard palate of the mouth

In anatomy, rugae are a series of ridges produced by folding of the wall of an organ.[1] Most commonly rugae refers to the gastric rugae of the internal surface of the stomach.


A purpose of the gastric rugae is to allow for expansion of the stomach after the consumption of foods and liquids. This expansion increases the volume of the stomach to hold larger amounts of food. The folds also result in greater surface area, allowing the stomach to absorb nutrients more quickly.


Rugae can appear in the following locations in humans:

Difference between rugae and plicae[edit]

With few exceptions (e.g. the scrotum), rugae are only evident when an organ or tissue is deflated or relaxed. For example, rugae are evident within the stomach when it is deflated. However, when the stomach distends, the rugae unfold to allow for the increase in volume. On the other hand, plicae remain folded regardless of distension as is evident within the plicae of the small intestine walls.


  1. ^ Moore, Keith L & Dalley, Arthur F (2006). Clinically Orientated Anatomy (5 ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 250.
  2. ^ Oppenheimer, Adam. "Is My Vagina Normal?". Retrieved 11 November 2022.