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Inferior mesenteric artery



Artery: Inferior mesenteric artery
Sigmoid colon and rectum, showing distribution of branches of inferior mesenteric artery and their anastomoses. (Inferior mesenteric artery labeled at center.)
Abdominal part of digestive tube and its attachment to the primitive or common mesentery. Human embryo of six weeks. (Inferior mesenteric artery labeled at bottom right.)
Latin arteria mesenterica inferior
Gray's subject #154 609
Source abdominal aorta
Branches left colic artery, sigmoid branches, superior rectal artery
Vein inferior mesenteric vein
Precursor vitelline arteries
MeSH Mesenteric+Artery,+Inferior
Dorlands/Elsevier a_61/12155065

In human anatomy, the inferior mesenteric artery, often abbreviated as IMA, supplies the large intestine from the left colic (or splenic) flexure to the upper part of the rectum, which includes the descending colon, the sigmoid colon, and part of the rectum. Proximally, its territory of distribution overlaps (forms a watershed) with the middle colic artery, and therefore the superior mesenteric artery. The SMA and IMA anastomose via the marginal artery (artery of Drummond). The territory of distribution of the IMA is more or less equivalent to the embryonic hindgut.

Additional recommended knowledge

Contents

Branching

The IMA branches off the anterior surface of the abdominal aorta below the renal artery branch points, and approximately midway between these and the aortic bifurcation (into the common iliac arteries).

The IMA has the following branches:

Branch notes
left colic artery supplies descending colon
sigmoid branches the most superior being described as 'the superior sigmoid artery'
superior rectal artery effectively the terminal branch of the IMA (the continuation of the IMA after all other branches)

All these arterial branches further divide into arcades which then supply the colon at regular intervals.

Associated veins

The IMA is accompanied along its course by a similarly named vein, the inferior mesenteric vein, which drains into the splenic vein.

The IMV therefore drains to the portal vein and does not fully mirror the course of the IMA.

Surgery and pathology

The IMA and/or its branches must be resected for a left hemicolectomy.

A horseshoe kidney, a rare (1 in 600) anomaly of the kidneys, will be positioned below the IMA.

Additional images

 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Inferior_mesenteric_artery". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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