The splenic artery supplies the spleen and substantial portions of the stomach and pancreas. The splenic artery courses superior and anterior to the splenic vein, along the superior edge of the pancreas. Near the splenic hilum, the artery usually divides into superior and inferior terminal branches, and each branch further divides into four to six segmental intrasplenic branches. The superior terminal branches are usually longer than the inferior terminal branches and provide the major splenic arterial supply. The inferior polar artery usually gives rise to the left gastroepiploic artery, but the latter may also arise from the distal splenic or inferior terminal artery. The left gastroepiploic artery then runs along the greater curvature of the stomach. Numerous short gastric branches arise from the terminal splenic or left gastroepiploic artery to supply the gastric cardia and fundus.
The splenic artery has many branches that supply the pancreatic body and tail. The first large branch is the dorsal pancreatic artery, and the second large branch is the greater pancreatic artery (or arteria pancreatica magna), which arises from the middle segment of the splenic artery. When embolization is planned, visualization of the pancreatic arteries is essential to reduce the risk of their unintended embolization.
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This Angiogram was performed on a 47-year-old woman with locally advanced pancreatic carcinoma and thrombocytopenia (extremely low platelets) that prevented her from further chemotherapy. Above is an Angiogram obtained before embolization which shows normal splenic anatomy. link to image
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