The superior mesenteric artery plays a vital role in keeping the digestive system healthy and functioning. If the artery clogs with plaque or develops a clot, blood flow to digestive organs slows. Rarely, the superior mesenteric artery presses against a renal vein or the duodenum, causing potentially life-threatening problems.
The mesentery is found in your abdomen, where it surrounds your intestines. It comes from the area on the back side of your abdomen where your aorta (a main artery) branches off to another large artery called the superior mesenteric artery. This is sometimes referred to as the root region of the mesentery.
When examining the mesenteric arteries, several landmarks are helpful to ensure correct identification of the mesenteric vascular anatomy. The celiac artery, in the transverse view, has a distinctive appearance, with a characteristic T-shaped bifurcation (the “seagull sign” Fig. 26.14).