In human anatomy
, the inferior mesenteric artery
, often abbreviated as IMA
, supplies the large intestine
from the left colic 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 of the colon
(artery of Drummond). The territory of distribution of the IMA is more or less equivalent to the embryonic hindgut
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:
All these arterial branches further divide into arcades
which then supply the colon
at regular intervals.
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 common (1 in 600) anomaly of the kidneys, will be positioned below the IMA.
Image:Gray531.png|The abdominal aorta and its branches.
Image:Gray537.png|The inferior mesenteric......