Article Title

Anatomy of the neural fibers at the superior mesenteric artery - A cadaver study


Purpose: Most surgeons perform right-sided semicircular clearance of the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) nerve plexus for pancreatic head carcinoma, presuming a linear course of the SMA nerve fibers. The hypothesis was that the SMA nerve plexus fibers follow a non-linear course, and the goal of the present study was to assess the neural fibers distribution along the SMA.

Methods: The course of neural fibers along the retropancreatic and suprapancreatic SMA was assessed in 7 cadavers.

Results: In the retropancreatic course of the vessel, the main nerve cords branch and form a large number of finer nerve branches performing an anti-clockwise rotation of slightly less than 90° around the SMA. Finer nerve branches are located rather close to the vessel, while the main nerve cords are localized in the loose connective tissue of the peripheral parts of the vascular sheath. Nerve fibers around the suprapancreatic SMA run as two main nerve cords framing the artery on the right lateral-ventral and the left lateral to lateral-dorsal side.

Conclusion: The rotation of the nerve fiber around the SMA indicates that a more radical resection of at least 180° of neural tissue around the SMA might be required to achieve tumor clearance in pancreatic cancer with perineural invasion at the uncinate margin.


neural fibers, anatomy, superior mesenteric artery, pancreatic surgery, cadaver

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