OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology
This vessel remains to the left of the vertebral column and is embedded in adipose tissue behind the peritoneal cavity. It formally ends at approximately the level of vertebra L4, where it bifurcates to form the common iliac arteries. Before this division, the abdominal aorta gives rise to several important branches. A single celiac trunk (artery) emerges and divides into the left gastric artery to supply blood to the stomach and esophagus, the splenic artery to supply blood to the spleen, and the common hepatic artery, which in turn gives rise to the hepatic artery proper to supply blood to the liver, the right gastric artery to supply blood to the stomach, the cystic artery to supply blood to the gall bladder, and several branches, one to supply blood to the duodenum and another to supply blood to the pancreas. Two additional single vessels arise from the abdominal aorta. These are the superior and inferior mesenteric arteries. The superior mesenteric artery arises approximately 2.5 cm after the celiac trunk and branches into several major vessels that supply blood to the small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, and ileum), the pancreas, and a majority of the large intestine. The inferior mesenteric artery supplies blood to the distal segment of the large intestine, including the rectum. It arises approximately 5 cm superior to the common iliac arteries.
In addition to these single branches, the abdominal aorta gives rise to several significant paired arteries along the way. These include the inferior phrenic arteries, the adrenal arteries, the renal arteries, the gonadal arteries, and the lumbar arteries. Each inferior phrenic artery is a counterpart of a superior phrenic artery and supplies blood to the inferior surface of the diaphragm. The adrenal artery supplies blood to the adrenal (suprarenal) glands and arises near the superior mesenteric artery. Each renal artery branches approximately 2.5 cm inferior to the superior mesenteric arteries and supplies a kidney. The right renal artery is longer than the left since the aorta lies to the left of the vertebral column and the vessel must travel a greater distance to reach its target. Renal arteries branch repeatedly to supply blood to the kidneys. Each gonadal artery supplies blood to the gonads, or reproductive organs, and is also described as either an ovarian artery or a testicular artery (internal spermatic), depending upon the sex of the individual. An ovarian artery supplies blood to an ovary, uterine (Fallopian) tube, and the uterus, and is located within the suspensory ligament of the uterus. It is considerably shorter than a testicular artery, which ultimately travels outside the body cavity to the testes, forming one component of the spermatic cord. The gonadal arteries arise inferior to the renal arteries and are generally retroperitoneal. The ovarian artery continues to the uterus where it forms an anastomosis with the uterine artery that supplies blood to the uterus. Both the uterine arteries and vaginal arteries, which distribute blood to the vagina, are branches of the internal iliac artery. The four paired lumbar arteries are the counterparts of the intercostal arteries and supply blood to the lumbar region, the abdominal wall, and the spinal cord. In some instances, a fifth pair of lumbar arteries emerges from the median sacral artery.
The aorta divides at approximately the level of vertebra L4 into a left and a right common iliac artery but continues as a small vessel, the median sacral artery, into the sacrum. The common iliac arteries provide blood to the pelvic region and ultimately to the lower limbs. They split into external and internal iliac arteries approximately at the level of the lumbarsacral articulation. Each internal iliac artery sends branches to the urinary bladder, the walls of the pelvis, the external genitalia, and the medial portion of the femoral region. In females, they also provide blood to the uterus and vagina. The much larger external iliac artery supplies blood to each of the lower limbs.
Betts, J. G., Young, K. A., Wise, J. A., Johnson, E., Poe, B., Kruse, D. H., … DeSaix, P. (n.d.). Anatomy and Physiology. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at: https://openstax.org/details/books/anatomy-and-physiology