The ileocolic artery branches off from the superior mesenteric artery in the lower abdominal area and is the superior mesenteric’s lowest branching vessel.

After branching off the superior mesenteric, the ileocolic artery moves downward behind the peritoneum — a thin tissue that lines the abdominal wall — and right of the hip bone’s iliac fossa, which is the top-front of the pelvis. It then divides into a superior and an inferior branch.

During its course, the ileocolic also branches into the appendicular, superior, and inferior cecal arteries. Through these branches, 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 portion of the 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.