The gastroepiploic arteries (also known as the gastroomental arteries) consist of left and right vessels that form an anastomosis along the greater curvature of the stomach.
The right gastroepiploic artery arises as one of the terminal branches of the gastroduodenal artery, while the left gastroepiploic artery arises from the splenic artery.
The gastroepiploic arteries give off gastric and epiploic (a.k.a. omental) branches that supply the greater curvature of the stomach and the greater omentum.
This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the gastroepiploic arteries.
|Origin||Right gastroepiploic artery: gastroduodenal artery
Left gastroepiploic artery: splenic artery
|Branches||Gastric and epiploic(omental) branches|
|Supply||Greater curvature of stomach|
Right gastroepiploic artery
The right gastroepiploic artery is one of the two terminal branches of the gastroduodenal artery (the other being the superior pancreaticoduodenal artery). It arises between the superior part of the duodenum and the pancreas.
It courses downwards towards the midline, running inferiorly to the pylorus of the stomach. As it reaches the level of the head of the pancreas, it turns laterally to enter the greater omentum. Between the layers of the greater omentum, it then passes along the greater curvature of the stomach where it may anastomose with the left gastroepiploic artery.
Left gastroepiploic artery
The left gastroepiploic artery arises from the splenic artery approximately 1-4cm before the hilum of the spleen. From here, it courses anteroinferiorly through the gastrosplenic ligament of the greater omentum. It then passes along the greater curvature of the stomach, lying in between the anterior and posterior layers of the greater omentum.
In about one half of the population, the left gastroepiploic artery terminates as an anastomosis with its right counterpart, thereby completing the gastroepiploic arcade. When this does not occur, the gastroepiploic arteries terminate before meeting and do not form a defined anastomosis.
Branches and supply
During their course along the greater curvature of the stomach, both the right and left gastroepiploic artery give off several gastric and epiploic (omental) branches:
- Gastric branches: usually consist of several arteries that branch perpendicular to the parent vessel and ascend within the serosa/visceral peritoneal covering of the stomach. . The gastric branches arising from the left gastroepiploic artery supply the fundus and the upper portion of the gastric body while the gastric branches from the right gastroepiploic artery supply the pyloric antrum and the lower half of the gastric body.
- Epiploic branches: also known as omental branches, these arteries course inferiorly through the layers of the greater omentum, providing it with arterial supply.
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