Mesenteric vessels

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The mesenteric vessels are really nifty vessels that essentially supply and drain the mesenteries.

Superior mesenteric artery

The superior mesenteric artery arises just below the celiac trunk, at the lower border of the L1 vertebra, behind the neck of the pancreas. Its territory of supply:

Inferior mesenteric artery

The inferior mesenteric artery arises from the aorta (via the abdominal aorta at about the L3 vertebral level and supplies hindgut derivatives. Its anastomosing branches are the left colic and sigmoid arteries which supply the left colic flexure, descending colon and sigmoid colon, and the terminal superior rectal artery which crosses the pelvic inlet to supply the lower part of the sigmoid colon and the rectum.


The superior mesenteric artery enters the mesentery of the small intestine, giving several jejunal and ileal (intestinal) branches (arise from the left side of the artery), which sub- divide and anastomose with each other, to form a series of "arterial arcades" There are 1-2 rows in the region of the jejunum, and 4-5 rows in the region of the ileum.

The mesenteric vessels also supply the appendix and pancreas.


  • Most of the lymph from abdominal viscera reaches the blood stream via the thoracic duct
  • The stomach has its own watershed-type drainage considerations
  • In general, three groups of lymph nodes are involved in the drainage of the G.I. tract:

Peripheral (primary) nodes

  • close to the gut wall, along the inner or mesenteric border

Intermediate nodes

  • along arterial branches
  • e.g., middle colic, ileocolic, left gastric nodes

central (pre-aortic) nodes

  • Adjacent to main arterial trunks
  • e.g., celiac, superior mesenteric and inferior mesenteric nodes
The superior mesenteric artery and its branches.


  • Aorta (abdominal aorta here)
    • Celiac trunk
    • Superior Mesenteric Artery
      • Middle colic
      • Right colic
      • Iliocolic
      • Intestinal branches (jejunal or ileal branches of the Superior Mesenteric)
    • Inferior Mesenteric Artery
      • Left colic
      • Sigmoid
      • Superior rectal
      • Marginal artery (anastomosis of Superior and Inferior Mesenteric arteries)