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Superior mesenteric artery

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Title: Superior mesenteric artery  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Middle colic artery, Right colic artery, Nutcracker syndrome, Ileocolic artery, Inferior pancreaticoduodenal artery
Collection: Arteries of the Abdomen
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Superior mesenteric artery

Superior mesenteric artery
Frontal view of the superior mesenteric artery and its branches. The large vessel (blue) beside the SMA is the superior mesenteric vein. A considerable number of different branching patterns exist.
3D-rendered computed tomography of abdominal aortic branches, showing exit of superior mesenteric artery between the kidneys.
Latin arteria mesenterica superior
Precursor vitelline arteries
Source abdominal aorta
Branches inferior pancreaticoduodenal
middle colic
right colic
intestinal branches (jejunal, ileal)
superior mesenteric vein
Supplies intestine
MeSH A07.231.114.565.755
Anatomical terminology

In human anatomy, the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) arises from the anterior surface of the abdominal aorta, just inferior to the origin of the celiac trunk, and supplies the intestine from the lower part of the duodenum through two-thirds of the transverse colon, as well as the pancreas.


  • Structure 1
    • Branches 1.1
  • Clinical relevance 2
  • Additional images 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


It arises anterior to lower border of vertebra L1 in an adult. It is usually 1cm lower than the celiac trunk. It initially travels in an anterior/inferior direction, passing behind/under the neck of the pancreas and the splenic vein. Located under this portion of the superior mesenteric artery, between it and the aorta, are the following:

The SMA typically runs to the left of the similarly named vein, the superior mesenteric vein. After passing the neck of the pancreas it starts giving off its branches.


Branch Supplies
inferior pancreaticoduodenal artery head of the pancreas and to the ascending and inferior parts of the duodenum
intestinal arteries branches to ileum, branches to jejunum
ileocolic artery supplies last part of ileum, cecum, and appendix
right colic artery to ascending colon
middle colic artery to the transverse colon

The middle, right, and ileocecal branches anastomose with each other to form a marginal artery along the inner border of the colon. This artery is completed by branches of the left colic which is a branch of the inferior mesenteric artery.

Clinical relevance

Additional images


  1. ^ Redaelli CA, Schilling MK, Büchler MW (1998). "Intraoperative laser Doppler flowmetry: a predictor of ischemic injury in acute mesenteric infarction". Digestive surgery 15 (1): 55–9.  

External links

  • Anatomy figure: 39:02-01 at Human Anatomy Online, SUNY Downstate Medical Center - "Branches of the inferior mesenteric artery."
  • Anatomy photo:40:11-0102 at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center - "Posterior Abdominal Wall: Branches of the Abdominal Aorta"
  • Anatomy image:8008 at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • Anatomy image:8404 at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • Anatomy image:8815 at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • Anatomy image:8841 at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • Atlas image: abdo_wall70 at the University of Michigan Health System - "Posterior Abdominal Wall, Dissection, Anterior View"
  • sup&infmesentericart at The Anatomy Lesson by Wesley Norman (Georgetown University)
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