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.
Precursorvitelline arteries
Sourceabdominal aorta
Branchesinferior pancreaticoduodenal
middle colic
right colic
intestinal branches (jejunal, ileal)
Veinsuperior mesenteric vein
Latinarteria mesenterica superior
Anatomical terminology

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



In the adult, the SMA arises anterior to inferior border of vertebra L1. It is usually 1 cm lower than the celiac trunk.

Course and relations

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 its associated 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 (proximal loop)
intestinal arteries branches to ileum, branches to jejunum (proximal loop)
ileocolic artery supplies last part of ileum, cecum, and appendix (distal loop)
right colic artery to ascending colon (distal loop)
middle colic artery to the transverse colon (distal loop)

The number of arterial arcades in the ileum is more than the number of arcades in the jejunum.

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 significance

Additional images

This page was last updated at 2024-02-15 07:23 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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