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Right colic artery

Recommended video: Arteries of the large intestine [09:31]
Arteries of the large intestine seen from an anterior view, with the jejunum and ileum removed, and transverse colon reflected.
Right colic artery (arteria colica dextra)

The right colic artery is a branch of the superior mesenteric artery that supplies the ascending colon. It courses to the right towards ascending colon, where it splits into a superior and inferior division.

The superior and inferior branches of the right colic artery anastomose with branches of the ileocolic and middle colic artery, thereby contributing to the formation of the marginal artery of Drummond, an arterial channel that supplies the large intestine.

This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the right colic artery.

Key facts about the right colic artery
Origin Superior mesenteric artery
Branches Superior and inferior branch
Supply Ascending colon
  1. Course
  2. Branches and supply
  3. Anatomical variations
  4. Sources
+ Show all


The right colic artery is the second branch of the superior mesenteric artery, arising from its right side. It runs retroperitoneally to the right, traversing the anterior surface of the right ureter, gonadal vessels, genitofemoral nerve, psoas major, and quadratus lumborum muscle. Upon reaching the left side of the ascending colon, the right colic artery divides into its two terminal branches.

Branches and supply

Right colic artery

The right colic artery divides into a superior and inferior branch.

  • Superior (ascending) branch: courses superiorly to the inferior pole of the right kidney to the hepatic flexure where it anastomoses with the right branch of the middle colic artery. This branch supplies the upper portion of the ascending colon and contributes to the marginal artery of Drummond
  • Inferior (descending) branch: courses inferiorly to supply the lower portion of the ascending colon. This branch anastomoses with the superior division of the ileocolic artery and also contributes to the marginal artery of Drummond.

Anatomical variations

The right colic artery can be quite variable in its origin and course. Although it typically arises from the superior mesenteric artery, it can also arise as a common trunk with the middle colic artery. Alternatively, the right colic artery can originate from the ileocolic artery, when it is referred to as the accessory ileocolic artery.

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