Aorta: Abdominal aorta has three layers: tunica intima, tunica media and tunica adventitia. Aortic aneurysm leads to the dilatation of all the three layers.
The aorta pierces the diagphragm and enters the abdominal cavity at the level of T12. after entering the abdominal cavity, the aorta divides into two branches at the level of L4 or fourth lumbar vertebra. The two branches of the abdominal aorta are the iliac arteries. Aorta is anterior to the vertebral bodies. Inferior vena cava is situated on the right side of aorta whereas sympathetic trunk is present on its left side. Cisterna chyli lies between the aorta and inferior vena cava. Anteriorly, aorta is covered by many structures. These include peritoneum of lesser sac, pancreas, splenic vein, left renal vein, part of duodenum and small intestine.
There are numerous branches of abdominal aorta. These include anterior vessel branches (celiac axis, superior and inferior mesenteric arteries), lateral vessel branches (suprarenal, renal, gonadal arteries), parietal branches (phrenic, paired lumbar arteries) and three terminal branches (median sacral, two common iliac arteries which further divide into internal and external iliac arteries).
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