The ileocolic artery branches off from the superior mesenteric artery and is the superior mesenteric's lowest offshoot. In a downward direction, it moves behind the peritoneum and right of the hip bone's iliac fossa. The ileocolic artery then divides into a superior and an inferior branch. During its course, the ileocolic also branches into the appendicular, superior, and inferior cecal arteries. In the process, the ileocolic artery supplies oxygenated blood to the appendix, cecum, and ileum, each of which are components within the small and large intestines. The ileum is located at the end of the small intestine, while the cecum and appendix are located at the beginning of the large intestine. As a whole, the large intestine is the final digestive tract where ingested substances are either completely digested or processed into fecal waste matter. The ileocolic artery is not the same thing as the ileocolic vein, which drains deoxygenated blood from the ileum, cecum, and parts of the colon.
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In Depth: Ileocolic artery