Abdominal aorta

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The abdominal aorta is a posterior structure of the abdominal cavity. It enters the abdominal cavity through the aortic hiatus of the diaphragm, then descends to the level of the L4 vertebra, slightly to the left of the midline. At this point, the abdominal aorta bifurcates into the right and left common iliac arteries. To its right are the inferior vena cava, cisterna chyli and beginning of the thoracic duct. To its left is the left sympathetic trunk. There are three unpaired arteries that arise from its anterior surface:

  1. celiac artery
  2. superior mesenteric
  3. inferior mesenteric

The following paired arteries arise laterally:

  1. inferior phrenic
  2. renal
  3. suprarenal
  4. gonadal (testicular/ovarian)
  5. lumbar segmental arteries (four pairs - supply structures of the posterior abdominal wall, and the vertebral column)