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Superior Mesenteric Artery
Cardiovascular System

Superior Mesenteric Artery

Arteria mesenterica superior

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The superior mesenteric artery originates as a single anterior branch of the abdominal aorta in the region of the transpyloric plane. This corresponds to the lower border of the first lumbar vertebra (L1), approximately 1 cm below the level of the celiac trunk.

At its origin, the splenic artery crosses anterior to the superior mesenteric artery.


As the superior mesenteric artery travels inferiorly, it lies anterior to the left renal vein and posterior to the neck of the pancreas.

It then emerges from behind the pancreas at the lower border of the neck and passes anterior to both the uncinate process of the pancreas and the inferior portion of the duodenum.

It enters the mesentery and continues in an inferolateral direction as it travels towards the right iliac fossa. It terminates by anastomosing with branches of the ileocolic artery.


The superior mesenteric artery first gives off the inferior pancreaticoduodenal artery which anastomoses with the superior pancreaticoduodenal artery (from the gastroduodenal artery).

The superior mesenteric artery gives off several branches on its left side. These are approximately 4–6 jejunal branches and 8–12 ileal branches.

On the right-hand side, the superior mesenteric gives rise to three colic branches. From proximal to distal, these are the middle colic, right colic, and ileocolic arteries.

Supplied Structures

The inferior pancreaticoduodenal artery supplies the head of the pancreas and portions of the duodenum, distal to the major duodenal papilla.

The jejunal and ileal branches supply the jejunum and ileum respectively. These arteries anastomose with each other forming several rows of arterial arcades within the mesentery.

The ileocolic branch supplies the ileocolic junction, appendix, cecum, and proximal portion of the ascending colon.

The right colic artery supplies the ascending colon.

The middle colic artery supplies the proximal two thirds of the transverse colon and forms anastomoses with a branch of the middle colic artery (from the inferior mesenteric artery).

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Superior Mesenteric Artery

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The superior mesenteric artery is the anterior branch of the abdominal aorta supplying the midgut, which includes the entire small bowel from the duodenum inferior to its major duodenal papilla, the cecum, the appendix, the ascending colon, and the right two-thirds of the transverse colon.

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